Jacksonville, Fla. - The first place and #18 ranked Stetson Hatters exploded for 17 hits and defeated second place Jacksonville 14-6 Friday night in the first game of the weekend series. Stetson won its 30th game of the season against eight losses and improved to 13-3 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Jacksonville fell to 23-14 overall and 13-6 in league play.
"It was a good win and a good way to start the series", said Stetson head coach Pete Dunn. "We have a huge doubleheader ahead of us tomorrow so we have to enjoy this tonight and then get back after it tomorrow."
Defensively it was a sloppy game with the teams combining for nine errors, six by the home team. Of the 20 runs scored in the game, only 10 were earned.
"We swung the bats well but it was an ugly game defensively all around. It's a sign of a good team though that we were able to take advantage of their mistakes and put up some big numbers", said Dunn.
Stetson starter Kurt Schluter (Jupiter, Fla.) earned the victory and improved to a league-leading 8-0 on the season. He allowed five hits and three unearned runs over six innings on the mound. He currently has the fourth longest winning streak in Division I baseball with nine straight victories dating back to last season. Jacksonville starter Matthew Tomshaw (Kingston, N.Y.) lasted 5.2 innings yet gave up 11 runs on 13 to the Hatters.
Jeff Simpson (Valrico, Fla.) and Robert Crews (Port Charlotte, Fla.) led the offensive charge with each going 3-for-5 with an RBI. Ryan Lashley (Lake Worth, Fla.) who led the team in home runs with 10 last season as a freshman, blasted his first of the season, a two-run shot in the fifth inning. He was 3-for-6 in the game. Nick Rickles (Loxahatchee, Fla.), Spencer Theisen (Longwood, Fla.) and Trey B lackman (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) all added a pair of hits on the night.
Stetson opened the scoring with a run in the first inning and two in the second. Simpson led off the first with a high-chop single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Rickles. Theisen scored in the second on an RBI single by Blackman who eventually scored on an RBI groundout by Simpson.
After JU tied the score at three in bottom of the third inning Stetson regained the lead with five runs on four hits in the top of the fifth and then broke the game open with three more in the sixth making the score 11-3.
The Hatters increased the lead to 13-3 in the top of the seventh and then the Dolphins made the score 13-6 with a 3-run homer by Jimmy Howick (Jacksonville, Fla.) in the bottom half. Stetson added one more in the top of the eighth for the 14-6 final.
Stetson and JU will return to Sessions Stadium Saturday for a doubleheader beginning at 2:00 p.m. Stetson fans can hear the games on Hatter Vision at GoHatters.com with Bill Topping calling the action. Tickets for home games are available at the gate or can be purchased online at GoHatters.com or by calling 738-HATS.