DeLand, Fla. - Stetson swept the series and extended its current winning streak to five games with a 4-3 victory over Kennesaw State Sunday afternoon at Melching Field. The Hatters have won each of the five Atlantic Sun Conference series they have played on their way to a 12-3 record in league games (25-7 overall). Coming off a big win over #8 Georgia Tech this past Tuesday, the Owls did not have an answer for the Hatters over the weekend and have now fallen to 19-15 overall and 8-6 in conference games.
On a day when the pitchers ruled the diamond Stetson had a pair of key hits that generated just enough offense to secure the win. The first came off the bat of Nick Rickles (Loxahatchee, Fla.) who singled up the middle in the bottom of the first inning to plate Mark Jones (Bunnell, Fla.) and Robert Crews (Port Charlotte, Fla.). The second was a double down the left field line by Ben Carhart (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) scoring Rickles and Crews. Carhart came to the plate with two outs and two on after the Owls intentionally walked Rickles with first base open.
"Its pick your poison", said Stetson head coach Pete Dunn. "You can pitch to Rickles or you can pitch to Carhart. Carhart is a tough kid and a clutch hitter."
As a team Stetson had six hits in the game with no player picking up more than one. In addition to the Rickles and Carhart knocks, Crews, Trey Blackman (Altamonte Springs, Fla.), Sean Emory (Miami, Fla.) and Ryan Lashley (Lake Worth, Fla.) each singled for the Hatters. Rickles base hit in the first inning extended his current streak to 12 consecutive games. It is Stetson's second longest streak of the season behind Crews' earlier 15-game effort.
Sophomore Kurt Schluter (Jupiter, Fla.) returned to the mound after suffering a bruised shoulder last weekend and pitched well for the Hatters. He improved to 6-0 on the season after giving up just one run and striking out five in six innings of work. Cameron Griffin (Naples, Fla.) and Jake Boyd (West Palm Beach, Fla.) each tossed a scoreless inning before closer Robbie Powell pitched the ninth and picked up his 6th save of 2011.
"I think we pitched really well this weekend against a team that came in a half game behind us. If we said coming in we would give up just eight runs on the weekend we would take that. It was a pretty good effort I think", said Dunn.
Kennesaw State starter Zak Griffith (Kennesaw, Ga.) threw seven innings allowing four runs and five hits while striking out one Hatter. Jordan Craft (Kennesaw, Ga.) belted his 3rd home run of the season with two outs in the ninth inning.
"That was a big win. It is not going to be an easy road going forward. We have half our schedule and some tough teams ahead of us but I like where we are right now, it sure beats the alternative", said Dunn.
The Hatters will return to Melching Field Tuesday night to take on USF at 6:30 p.m. Stetson fans can see the game on Hatter Vision at GoHatters.com with Bill Topping calling the action. Tickets for home games are available at the gate or can be purchased online at GoHatters.com or by calling 738-HATS.