|Caughel Dominant in Opening Performance|
Senior Lindsey Caughel got his final season off to an outstanding start on Saturday afternoon, pitching seven shutout innings while allowing just four hits in a 7-2 Hatters win over George Washington.
The Hatters have taken the first two games of the season-opening series and will go for the sweep on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Melching Field.
Caughel faced just three batters over the minimum over his afternoon. He did not allow a walk and struck out four while throwing just 75 pitches.
“It was a great outing for Lindsey,” Hatters coach Pete Dunn said. “He probably could have finished the game because he was under his pitch count, but we needed to get Austin Perez out there because he is probably going to get a start next week.”
Perez worked through the first five batters he faced with little difficulty, but surrendered four consecutive two-out hits in the ninth to give up a pair of runs before getting a strikeout to end the game.
Caughel said the performance was satisfying for him.
“I was happy that I was able to go out there and give my team a chance to win,” Caughel said. “The defense played great behind me. My plan is always to attack the plate and throw strikes because that keeps the defense on its toes and they made great plays out there for me.
“It is always nerve-racking on the first start of the year to go out there and have a good start because you build up for it throughout the fall. It all leads up to now, with three months of preparation. Once we got some runs I was really able to get into a comfort zone.”
The Hatters scored all the runs Caughel would need in the fourth inning off GWU starter Brian Derner (0-1). After getting an unearned run in the third inning, the Hatters tacked on five more in the fourth on five hits and with the help of the second of five Colonials errors.
Sam Kimmel and Ben Carhart opened the inning with consecutive singles and Ryan Lashley followed with a third straight hit to drive Kimmel home. Spencer Theisen delivered a sacrifice fly to plate the second run and, after a walk and a single by Kyle Zech loaded the bases, Mark Jones delivered a two-run single. The fifth run scored on an error.
“We didn’t get a lot of hits today, but I thought we were pretty opportunistic,” Dunn said. “They made some errors and we took advantage of them, but we also had some key two-out hits.”
The Hatters added a run in the eighth on a two out single by Kimmel that scored Jones, who had reached on an error.
Stetson had just eight hits in the game with two each by Kimmel and Carhart leading the way. GWU got four of their eight hits in the final inning and were led by Matthew Murakami with two.
The Hatters will look for the sweep on Sunday when they send senior right-hander Will Dorsey to the mound for his season debut. He will face GWU’s junior right-hander Tyler McCarthy, who has served as the Colonials designated hitter in the first two games of the series.
“Hopefully we will get the same kind of performance out of Dorsey that we got out of Caughel,” Dunn said. “I am not saying he needs to throw a shutout, but I’d like to see him pitch well. We have to get hungry for tomorrow, maybe a little greedy. You don’t want to let that third game get away after winning the first two. These guys will come out prepared and will be ready to play, we just have to be better prepared.”
The series finale is scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch at Melching Field.