DeLand, Fla. - Stetson scored four in the seventh and then the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat Central Michigan 9-8 Sunday evening at Melching Field. The Hatters finished the 2011 Bright House Invitational at 3-0, have won their last four games, and are now 9-1 on the season.
With one out and the score tied 8-8 in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Lashley (Lake Worth, Fla.) came to the plate with the bases loaded and delivered a high chopper toward third base that was too tough to handle and turned into a base hit and a game-winning RBI. Lashley was 1-for-3 in the game with a sacrifice fly.
Once again Ben Carhart (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) led the Hatter offense going 2-for-4 with a three-run home run. He also scored three runs, including the game-winner in the 9th inning. For the tournament Carhart hit .538 (7-for-13) with a double, a triple, a home run, four runs scored and eight RBI.
Mark Jones (Bunnell, Fla.) had his most productive game of the season scoring a run and picking up three hits including a triple. Catcher Nick Rickles (Loxahatchee, Fla.) was 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI, and he too had a triple, the second of his career. Jeff Simpson (Valrico, Fla) was the other Hatter with at least two hits. He also scored a pair of runs.
Stetson closer Robbie Powell (Punta Gorda, Fla) picked up the win after tossing the final 1.2 innings, allowing one hit and striking out one batter. He is now 2-0 on the season.
Central Michigan's final pitcher of the day Harvey Martin (Farmington, Mich.) took the loss and fell to 0-2 on the season. The Chippewas jumped out to an early 4-0 lead before Carhart belted his second home run of the season making the score 4-3 in the bottom of the 3rd inning. The teams traded solo runs in the 6th and CMU added another in the top of the 7th to increase its lead to 6-4. That was when Stetson tallied four runs in the bottom of the 7th to take an 8-6 lead. Two more runs by the Chippewas in the 8th tied the score once more and set up the dramatic finish for Stetson in the 9th.
"We have made some mistakes and fallen behind but we have come back and found ways to win ball games", said Stetson head coach Pete Dunn. "The kids have kept battling. They think they can win whether they are in front or behind and that is a great trait to have, especially next week as we get into league play.
Although it will not be a part of the Bright House Invitational, both the Hatters and Chippewas will return to Melching Field Tuesday night for a rematch at 6:30 p.m. Stetson fans can see the game on Hatter Vision at GoHatters.com with Bill Topping calling the action. Tickets are available at the gate or can be purchased online at GoHatters.com or by calling 738-HATS.