DeLand, Fla. - Stetson took advantage of a quality start by Lindsey Caughel (Orlando, Fla.) and three-hit games by Jeff Simpson (Valrico, Fla.) and Nick Rickles (Loxahatchee, Fla.) to defeat A-Sun conference rival Mercer Friday night at Melching Field. The Hatters out-hit the Bears 11-7 and outlasted them 4-3 on the scoreboard. Stetson improved to 14-4 overall and 3-1 in league play while Mercer fell to 14-6 and 4-3.
Caughel tossed 6.1 innings allowing three runs, two of which were earned on five hits. He struck out five Bears, walked three and improved to 3-0 on the season. Mercer starter Matt McCall (Valdosta, Ga.) lasted 4.0 innings and took the loss dropping to 1-1.
"It was an outstanding effort by Lindsey tonight", said Stetson head coach Pete Dunn. "He is close to being back at 100% but what a great outing. I probably left him in there one hitter too long and should of brought Griffin in to face the lefty but great job by Lindsey."
Freshman Cameron Griffin (Naples, Fla.) had an outstanding outing in relief to keep the Bears at bay. He threw 1.1 scoreless innings giving up no hits and striking out three. Closer Robbie Powell (Punta Gorda, Fla.) earned his 4th save of the season after pitching the final inning and striking out one batter.
Mercer scored the first run of the game in the top of the 1st inning and then Stetson answered with one of its own in the bottom half. Simpson led off with a double down the left field line, moved to third on a single up the middle by Robert Crews (Port Charlotte, Fla.), and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Ben Carhart (Royal Palm Beach, Fla).
Stetson scored another run in similar fashion in the 2nd inning. This time it was Sean Emory (Miami, Fla.) who led off with a double. He moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Mitchel Brennan (Orlando, Fla.) and scored when Simpson singled up the middle.
Stetson picked up base hits by Emory, Brennan, Simpson and Crews and scored a pair of runs in the 6th inning to go up 4-1. Mercer answered with two in the top of the 7th, but Stetson held on for the win in its first conference home game of the season.
In addition to Simpson and Rickles, Crews and Emory also contributed multiple hits with two each on the night. Crews was 2-for-3 with an RBI and Emory finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
"It was a big win for us, that is a very good ball club over there", said Dunn. "The kids hung in and battled tonight, especially that last inning where they had a leadoff double and then a runner on third base with one out. Our guys worked their way out of it."
"We are pleased with it but we have to come back tomorrow and try and get another one", he added.
The Hatters and Bears will return to Melching Field Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and again on Sunday is a 1:00 p.m. Stetson fans can see the games 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.