|Maine Drops Hatters to Take Series|
Stetson saw its chance to take the deciding game of a weekend series with Maine evaporate early on Saturday when the Black Bears scored seven times in the fourth inning en route to a 16-4 victory.
Maine improved to 2-5 on the year with the win while the Hatters fall to 2-4.
“It is pretty demoralizing to watch that effort today,” Stetson coach Pete Dunn said. “To watch guys, who know how to play the game, fail to cover first base on bunts and let balls go between our legs is hard.”
The Hatters were their own worst enemy in the game, making both mental and physical mistakes from the very start. Maine made Stetson pay for almost every mistake.
The Black Bears pounded out 19 hits against seven Stetson hurlers and also took advantage of three errors, six walks and five batters who were hit by pitches.
“You can’t be that benevolent, and there is no team on our schedule who you can do that against, and expect to beat them,” Dunn said. “They rubbed our noses in it and we earned every bit of it. Give them credit because they took advantage every time we did something wrong, and that is what good teams do.”
Maine senior right-hander A.J. Bazdanes (1-0) worked into the sixth inning for the Black Bears to earn the victory. He allowed all four Stetson runs in the sixth. Burk FitzPatrick and Steve Trask finished the game off for Maine and did not allow a Stetson hit the rest of the day.
Stetson junior Cameron Griffin (0-1) had his second consecutive shaky start, allowing seven earned runs on seven hits through just three innings of work. Only freshmen Ike Greenspon and Josh Thorne among Stetson hurlers escaped without allowing at least one run. They pitched the last two innings when the result was never in doubt.
Two players did stand out for the Hatters in the game. Both freshman catcher Konner Lutz and sophomore outfielder Tanner Blackman earned praise for their effort in what was the first start of the year for both.
“I was extremely proud of the way Konner Lutz played today,” Dunn said. “Not only did he swing the bat well, he also did a nice job behind the plate in a game where it was not easy back there. He called a lot of pitches, but he didn’t get to catch a lot of them. Tanner made his first start and played well, but that was it.”
Both Lutz and Blackman had three hits in the game for Stetson. The Hatters managed just eight hits on the day. Kevin Fagan, who came off the bench, drove in three of the four Stetson runs on a bases loaded double in the fourth. He then came in to score on a Blackman single.
Maine had seven players with multiple hits in the game, led by Sam Balzano, who had four singles and scored four runs. Six other players had two hits each, including Michael Fransoso, who drove in three runs, and Eric White, who had a two-run homer.
The Hatters will try to get back on track on Tuesday night when they venture across Volusia County to face Bethune-Cookman at Jackie Robinson Field. That game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. start.
Stetson will host the annual Brighthouse Invitational Tournament next weekend with Ohio State, Central Michigan and Connecticut in town for the round robin event. The Hatters will face Central Michigan on Friday night, Ohio State on Saturday evening and Connecticut on Sunday.
Early games in the tournament are scheduled for 1 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. on Sunday. The Hatters are scheduled to play at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday.
For tickets to all Hatters home games, contact the Stetson Athletics Ticket office at 386-738-HATS or visit GoHatters.com.