DeLand, Fla. - No. 17 Stetson (40-14, 23-5 A-Sun) made it 40 wins on the season with a 7-4 victory over Belmont (30-24, 15-13 A-Sun) Thursday night at Melching Field. It is the ninth time in program history the Hatters surpassed the 40-win mark.
"Forty wins in the regular season is just tough these days", said Stetson head coach Pete Dunn. "Forty wasn't such a big deal a few years back. There used to be teams that would go out and play 70-75 games. But once they cut it back to 56, winning 40 became a big deal. I am really proud of our guys."
Ryan Lashley (Lake Worth, Fla.) led the way for Stetson with a 3-for-4 effort that included two RBI and a run scored. Bunnell's Mark Jones was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and his 11th double of the season. Ben Carhart (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) belted his sixth home run of the season to tie the score at one in the first inning.
Pitcher Lindsey Caughel (Orlando, Fla.) earned his sixth win against just one loss with another quality start for the Hatters. He tossed seven innings and allowed four runs, three of which were earned, and seven hits while striking out one. Jake Boyd (West Palm Beach, Fla.) picked up his fifth save of the season after pitching the final two innings. He did not give up a hit, run or a walk and struck out three batters.
"This is a great win. Caughel went out there and gave us a great start and then Jake got the save. The pitching was very good and our hitting was efficient tonight", said Dunn.
Stetson has already won the Atlantic Sun Conference Regular Season Championship and is the #1 seed in next week's conference tournament. The Hatters will open the tournament on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. against the #6 seed which has yet to be determined.
"I am really proud of the guys tonight. They came back after a tough loss to UCF", said Dunn. "We have talked about how this team is resilient. We have bounced back a few times this season and we have done it again."
Stetson and Belmont will return to Melching Field Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at 1:00 p.m. to complete the regular season. 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.