DeLand, Fla. - The Stetson Hatters (39-14) made valiant comeback that came up just short and they fell 7-6 to UCF (34-19) Tuesday night at Melching Field. It was the final non-conference game of the season for Stetson who will have to wait until the weekend to try and pick up its 40th victory. It would be the 9th time in program history that the fete was accomplished.
Stetson opened the scoring with a towering home run over the scoreboard in left center by Nick Rickles. It was the 11th of the season for the catcher-first baseman out of Loxahatchee, Florida.
UCF did the majority of its damage in the third inning when it scored six runs off Stetson starter Robbie Powell (Punta Gorda, Fla.). He ended up tossing three complete innings and allowed eight hits along with the six runs. Powell struck out one batter.
Down 7-1 after another run by the Knights in the top of 5th inning off Cameron Griffin (Naples, Fla.), the Hatters began to chip away at the lead. Stetson scored single runs in the 5th, 6th, and 8th, and put up a pair in the 7th yet came up one shy in the end.
Joe Dye (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) kept the home team in the game with 2.1 innings of scoreless relief before giving way to Jake Boyd (West Palm Beach, Fla.) who finished the 8th inning and then struck out the side in the 9th.
Rickles, Ben Carhart (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.), Trey Blackman (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) and Mitchel Brennan (Orlando, Fla.) each had two hits for the Hatters. Mark Jones (Bunnell, Fla.) belted his fourth home run of the season over the center field wall in the 8th inning to get the Hatters to within a run.
Stetson will return to Melching Field for a weekend series against Belmont to finish up the regular season. The games are scheduled for Thursday and Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Stetson fans can see 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.