Stetson (11-2) managed just six hits in the game, and all five runs the Hatters scored were unearned as a result of four Harvard (0-4) errors. A trio of Stetson pitchers, led by starter Kurt Schluter (3-0) limited the Crimson to just four hits in the game.
“Right now, we just have to grind it out,” Hatters coach Pete Dunn said. “We may have to start playing the short game a lot earlier because, when your pitchers are throwing that well, you just have to get a run here and a run there and hope that they can make it stand up. They did that tonight.”
Harvard really only threatened to score once in the game, getting the first two runners on base against Schluter to open the sixth inning with Stetson holding to a 3-0 lead. Senior Tucker Donahue came on in relief of Schluter and slammed the door by getting a strikeout and a pair of ground balls.
“Schluter got himself into a jam in the sixth and then Donahue came in and did the job and got us out of trouble,” Dunn said. “That was a key part in the game because we were only up by three and they got their first two guys on. They were trying to bunt them over and get that first run, but we were able to get out of it without allowing a run. That was a huge part of the game.”
Donahue worked three strong innings, facing just nine batters while recording three strikeouts. Senior Jake Boyd came in to pitch a 1-2-3 ninth to close out the game.
Harvard senior starter Brent Suter (0-2) deserved better than taking his second loss. He worked five innings, allowing three unearned runs in the fourth while allowing five total hits with three walks and six strikeouts. In all, the Crimson pitchers posted 10 strikeouts in the game and held Stetson to just six hits.
“Not only do we have individuals who are struggling but the entire team is struggling because we do not have any continuity,” Dunn said. “It seems like we can never get anything going. We get a hit or two, but then get a punch out. We struck out a lot tonight. We have nine hits in two games, so it is good that we are pitching and playing pretty good defense because, if not, it would get ugly.”
Stetson added insurance runs in the sixth and seventh innings, both scoring as a direct result of Harvard errors. Only Sam Kimmel and Spencer Theisen, who had two hits each for Stetson, managed to show some life at the plate. Even Senior Ben Carhart, who has been hitting all season, went 0-for-5, snapping a nine-game hit streak.
The Hatters and Crimson will play their second game of their four-game weekend series on Saturday night with the first pitch slated for 6:30 p.m. Stetson will send senior right-hander Lindsey Caughel (2-0, 4.76) to the mound to face Harvard right-hander Joey Novak (0-1, 0.00).
“Caughel will have something to prove tomorrow coming off a less than stellar outing,” Dunn said. “I am sure he is anxious to get back out there and I have a feeling he will throw well. As long as the pitchers keep doing what they are doing, we will be OK.
“The good part is that when we start hitting on all cylinders at the plate, and if our pitchers keep doing what they are doing, we can be a pretty good ball club. We are a long way from being a good ball club right now. We are OK and we are winning some games, but we are not a real good club yet. I think that we will be, but we aren’t there yet.”