|Stetson to Face First Road Test at Bethune-Cookman|
For the first time in 2012, the Stetson baseball team will venture away from the friendly confines of Melching Field on Tuesday night for a cross-county showdown with Bethune-Cookman.
The game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. start at historic Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona Beach and will be broadcast live by WSBB-AM 1230 in New Smyrna Beach with the voice of the Daytona Beach Cubs, Robbie Aaron, calling the game.
For Hatters fans around the world, the game will be available online via Hatter Vison with Carson Ingle on the call.
The Hatters moved up four spots this week in the Collegiate Baseball poll, to No. 19, after taking three-of-four games over the weekend from Central Michigan. Stetson also moved up to No. 13 in the Perfect Game top 50 poll and maintained its No. 1 position for a third consecutive week in the College Baseball Daily.com Mid-Major Poll.
Stetson fell just short of the top 30 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, ranking 31st this week. The Hatters also continue to receive votes for the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll.
The game on Tuesday night is the second of seven consecutive games for Stetson against different teams. Starting with Central Michigan, the Hatters schedule over the next two weeks includes single games against Bethune-Cookman, Pennsylvania, Southern Illinois, Georgia State, Maine and then Harvard to open a four-game series.
The showdown with Bethune-Cookman is the first of two scheduled games between the teams this year. The Wildcats will visit Melching Field on April 24. Stetson leads the all-time series against Bethune-Cookman 66-16 in a series that dates back only to 1981.
The Hatters are 23-10 all-time at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. Over the last two seasons it has been the Wildcats with the upper hand in the series. Bethune-Cookman has won five of the eight meetings during 2010 and 2011.
Stetson will send freshman right-hander Josh Powers to the mound against the Wildcats to make his collegiate debut. The New Smyrna Beach native was a two-way star in high school, setting school career marks for batting average and RBI as a hitter and wins and strikeouts as a pitcher.
Powers will be matched up against Bethune-Cookman sophomore right-hander Scott Garner. The Port Orange native has struggled in three appearances so far this year, including two starts. He has not yet earned a decision, but has a 7.88 ERA in just 8.0 innings of work.
As a freshman in 2011, Garner led the Wildcats with a 9-2 record in 14 starts, including a pair of complete-game shutouts. He posted a 2.48 ERA in 83.1 innings of work and held opponents to a .226 batting average.
The Wildcats are in the middle of a heavily front-loaded schedule to start the season. B-CU has already won weekend series at both Florida Gulf Coast and South Florida and lost their first mid-week game 8-6 to Florida, the No. 1 team in the nation. Following the game with Stetson the Wildcats will host nationally-ranked UCF on Wednesday before hosting unranked Troy for a three-game series this weekend.
The Hatters will be looking to play better defense than what they showed in the final three games of the series with Central Michigan. Over those three games Stetson was charged with eight errors after committing just one in the first four games of the year.
Following the game with Bethune-Cookman, the Hatters will host the annual Brighthouse Invitational Tournament this weekend at Melching Field. Games will be played at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday with game times set for 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Sunday.