|Hitters Shine on Opening Night For Hatters|
With a shiny new scoreboard at Melching Field and the return of the reigning Atlantic Sun Conference pitcher of the year on the mound, it was the Stetson hitters who took center stage on opening night in a 19-7 victory over George Washington University.
The Hatters pounded out 20 hits against five Colonials (0-1) pitchers and put together three big innings. Stetson (1-0) scored five times in the first inning, four more in the third and capped the night with a six-run seventh.
The offensive explosion game junior starter Kurt Schluter (1-0) his ninth consecutive victory overall, even though he did allow four runs, two of which were earned, over six innings of work. Schluter allowed five hits and walked two while striking out five.
“It was a tough night out there for the pitchers,” Stetson coach Pete Dunn said of the wet conditions, as rain fell off-and-on throughout the night. “I am sure GW felt that way too. I thought Schluter threw ok. He gave up a couple of runs in the first, but settled down. That wasn’t the sharpest he has been but, for it to have been his first time out, and on a wet mound, I thought he threw pretty good.”
The Stetson hitters certainly did not mind the damp conditions. The Hatters had eight players with at least two hits in the game and were led by junior Sam Kimmel and sophomore Kyle Zech with three hits each. Both also drove in three runs in the game.
“I was pleased with the way we swung the bats,” Dunn said. “When your starter gives up two runs in the first and you come right back with five, that is the sign of a good ball club. Kimmel is a different player than (Nick) Rickles. People will try to compare them, but you can’t. He runs better that Rickles, he doesn’t have the power, but he can drive the ball into the gap, which he did tonight.”
The Hatters did get a pair of long balls in the game. The first was from Ryan Lashley to highlight the five-run first inning. The second came from Mitchel Brennan to cap the six-run seventh. Both were three-run shots.
The George Washington pitchers, led by starter J.T. Wauford (0-1) did not help themselves by walking nine Stetson batters. Throw in two passed balls, a wild pitch and six Stetson stolen bases, and there were Hatters on base in every inning except the fifth.
The Colonials managed just seven hits in the game with Stephen Oswald and Derek Brown getting two each.
The Hatters and Colonials will get together again on Saturday at Melching Field, with the first pitch slated for 2 p.m.