|Hitting Woes Continue as Hatters Split Twin-Bill|
Lindsey Caughel had a career-high 10 strikeouts against Harvard on Sunday.
Courtesy: Jim Hogue Photos
Stetson’s offensive struggles continued on Sunday afternoon as the Hatters managed just 11 total hits in splitting a pair of games with Harvard at Melching Field.
Stetson (12-3) took the opening game of the twin-bill 3-0 before dropping the second game to the Crimson (1-5) 5-1. The teams will complete their four-game weekend series on Monday night at 6:30 p.m.
In the opener, Stetson senior Lindsey Caughel posted a career-high 10 strikeouts and combined with Robbie Powell on a second consecutive shutout of Harvard. The 3-0 win over the Crimson, combined with a 5-0 win on Friday night, gave the Hatters their first consecutive shutouts since blanking Georgia State in consecutive games during the 2000 season.
Caughel (3-0) was in complete control from the very first inning. He recorded at least one strikeout in each of his seven innings of work, scattering five hits with no walks while facing just 25 batters. Powell picked up his fourth save with two quick innings of work, adding two strikeouts of his own.
“I struggled with my location the first two innings, but got myself into a groove,” Caughel said. “Our pitching coach saw something and told me I needed to stay back, not dive my shoulder to the plate.”
Stetson got the only runs it needed in the fourth inning off Harvard starter Joey Novak (0-2). A Sam Kimmel single opened the inning, followed by a pair of sacrifice bunts. Kimmel then scored on a wild pitch and Mark Jones followed with an RBI single for a 2-0 lead.
The Hatters added a third run in the seventh thanks to a pair of Harvard errors.
The performance for Caughel came on the heels of a poor start a week ago when he allowed eight runs on 10 hits over four innings in a loss to Southern Illinois.
“I was anxious to get out there and pitch after my last start,” Caughel said. “It’s hard as a starter to have a short memory and forget if you have to wait a week between starts.”
The 10 strikeouts bested his previous career-high of nine, which came against Jacksonville in May of 2010.
“Strikeouts are nice, but it’s never in my game plan to strike guys out,” Caughel said. “I throw strikes and keep the defense on their toes.”
In the second game it was Harvard that showed some aggressiveness at the plate, using a hit-and-run to produce back-to-back singles off Stetson starter Will Dorsey (2-1) in the first inning, leading to a sacrifice fly to plate the Crimson’s first run of the weekend.
Harvard continued to have success with small ball throughout the game, scoring a single run in the third on a Stetson throwing error, two more in the sixth on three hits, including the first of two triples in the game for catcher Jon Smart, and one in the ninth after Smart again tripled down the rightfield line.
The Hatters, on the other hand, were never able to get their offense going. Stetson had just three hits going to the ninth inning off the Harvard duo of Sam Dodge and Matt Doyle (1-0). Dodge went four innings, allowing the one run on three hits with five walks. Doyle came in and kept the Hatters quiet with 3.2 no-hit frames with three walks and three strikeouts.
Sidewinder Zach Olson picked up his first save by working the final 1.1 innings.
Stetson was never able to score despite the fact that the Crimson hurlers walked nine men in the game, and hit another.
“You have to be efficient, and that is what concerns me about that game,” Stetson coach Pete Dunn said. “We had opportunities to get back in the game. You don’t have to get a lot of hits to score runs, but you have to be efficient.
“We had enough walks that if we can get a bunt down, or hit the ball on the right side with a man on second with no outs in a one run game. All of the little things that we preach that good teams do, we just didn’t do tonight.”
Stetson turned those opportunities into 12 runners left on base while also hitting into two double plays.
“When the other team walks nine guys and you only score one run, then you didn’t do a very good job,” Dunn said. “When you aren’t scoring runs, you can’t give runs away like we did early in the game.”
The Hatters scored their only run in the second inning when Trey Blackman delivered a sacrifice fly to score Ryan Lashley, who had walked and moved to third on a double by Mark Jones.
“I don’t want to take anything away from them because they played well and pitched well,” Dunn said. “They played very good defense and they kept padding the lead when we were still in the game. It is pretty frustrating that we are not doing a better job than that at the plate.”