In the first game of a two-game midweek series between the teams, Mazeika and Russini – Stetson’s number three and four hitters in the batting order – helped Stetson rally from an early deficit. Each player provided a key offensive moment in leading Stetson to victory. Between them, Mazeika and Russini combined for four doubles.
“I think that’s one of the better games we’ve played all year,” said Dunn. “The bullpen did a great job for us tonight. We executed some bunts and played the short game well. I’m Happy not only with the win but I’m happy with the way we did it.”
The Hatters collected 11 hits against five USF pitchers on Tuesday, marking the eighth time in the last 15 games the Hatters have reached double figures in hits.
“We are starting to swing it better,” said Dunn. “I don’t know that I’d categorize us as a good offensive team yet, but we are getting a lot more efficient.”
With Stetson (11-17) trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth, Tyler Bocock laced a one-out double inside the bag a third, scoring Mike Fernland from second to make it 3-2. With two down Mazeika walked, and Russini followed with a two-run double into the right field corner, scoring both runners to give Stetson a 4-3 lead.
Mazeika’s RBI double in the sixth scored Bocock for a 5-3 lead, and Russini plated Mazeika with another double in the eighth for a 6-3 lead.
Tyler Warmoth pitched the final 1.1 innings without allowing a hit to earn his team-leading sixth save of the year.
Josh Thorne (2-0) was the beneficiary of Stetson’s offense in the bottom of the fourth. The sophomore right-hander relieved Ben Rakus in the top of the fourth with one out and runners at second and third. He wiggled his way out of the jam to keep it a 3-1 game.
Freshman left-hander Tyler Keller also gave the Hatters a lift out of the bullpen. With two starters down with injury and a total of five games scheduled for the week, Stetson needed someone to eat some innings out the pen. Keller tossed a season-high 2.2 shutout innings, allowing just one hit.
Justin Patrick (1-1) took the loss for the Bulls (17-11).
Mazeika reached base five times on Tuesday, going 2-for-3 with two doubles, two RBI, three runs scored and a pair of walks, raising his season average to .392. He’s added 75 points to his batting average over the last five games.
“Mazeika is on fire right now,” said Dunn. “It’s nice getting him back to where he needs to be and should be.
Russini was 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI. He has a team-high 13 extra-base hits on the year.
“Both guys are swinging the bat well right now,” said Dunn. “Russini was scuffling for a while so it’s nice to see those two come back.”
Bocock reached base three times on Tuesday and scored twice, while freshman Mitch Piatnik had a pair of singles.
The teams conclude their midweek series at 4 p.m., on Wednesday.