DeLand, Fla. - Junior catcher Nick Rickles (Loxahatchee, Fla.) ripped three doubles and knocked in four runs to lead Stetson to a 9-1 win over Central Michigan Tuesday night at Melching Field. Jeff Simpson (Valrico, Fla.) and Mark Jones (Bunnell, Fla.) each added a pair of hits and helped Stetson improve to 10-1 on the season.
Ranked 26th in the nation in this week's Collegiate Baseball poll, the Hatters are off to their best start since 2002 when they opened the season at 14-1. Stetson is currently on a five-game win streak.
"Rickles had a heck of a game. He is seeing the ball real good right now. We just need to keep finding ways to win until we get everybody swinging the bats like we know they can."
Freshman lefty Lee Cheneler (Longwood, Fla.) started his first game in his first collegiate appearance and picked up the win. He tossed a predetermined 3.0 innings allowing no runs and no hits while striking out four batters.
"That was a big game for us because we were short on pitching after a long weekend. Cheneler, for the first time out there he sure gave us a good three innings and then the bullpen came in and did its thing", said Stetson head coach Pete Dunn. "The pitching did a great job. The guys really stepped up on the mound tonight. If our pitching keeps on doing what they are doing we'll be in good shape".
Also making their first collegiate appearances on the night were Mitchel Brennan (Orlando, Fla.) and Justin Pickens (Sanford, Fla.). Brennan threw one third of an inning 5th, and Pickens closed out the game pitching the 9th and striking out one Chippewa.
Stetson jumped out to an early 3-0 lead with a run in the second inning and two more in the third. After CMU made the score 3-1 with a run in the top of the eighth, the Hatters blew the game open with six runs in the bottom half of the inning. The attack was highlighted by a bases loaded double by Rickles that knocked in three runs.
Wednesday night the Hatters will venture over to Daytona Beach to take on Volusia County rival Bethune-Cookman. The game is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. Stetson fans can hear the game on Hatter Vision at GoHatters.com with Bill Topping calling the action.