Stetson returns to the road this weekend for a crucial Atlantic Sun Conference series at Kennesaw State, beginning 6 p.m., Friday. Stetson will be playing its third road series since conference play began four weeks ago.
The Hatters and Owls enter the weekend separated by 1.5 games in the A-Sun standings. Stetson is alone in eighth while Kennesaw is ninth.
Stetson is expected to be bolstered by the return of right-handers Josh Powers and Kurt Schluter to the pitching staff this weekend. Schluter made his first appearance since Feb. 21 on Tuesday against Bethune-Cookman after missing more than six weeks with a groin injury. Powers, who returned to hitting last weekend, hasn’t pitched since suffering an oblique injury while warming up for a start on March 29.
Stetson vs. Kennesaw State
Stetson and Kennesaw State have met 22 times since the series began in 2006 when KSU joined the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Hatters hold a 12-10 lead in the series.
The Hatters are 5-4 against the Owls in games played in Kennesaw.
Scouting the Hatters
Stetson’s up-and-down season continued last week, as the Hatters went 3-2. Stetson swept a midweek series from USF (6-3, 2-1), then dropped two of three games at Northern Kentucky.
Freshman pitcher Taylor Cockrell was Stetson’s lone bright spot last weekend, as he tossed a complete game with eight strikeouts and no walks in the Hatters’ 6-2 victory in Sunday’s finale. It was the second complete game of the season for Cockrell, and lowered his season ERA to 3.76.
Sophomore 1B/C Patrick Mazeika continues to lead the team offensively. His .392 batting average ranks second in the A-Sun. He leads the conference in on-base percentage (.513), ranks second in doubles (12), fourth in walks (19), fourth in hits (47), and is tied for the league lead in hit-by-pitch (9).
Junior C Garrett Russini continued his fine recent play last week, going 9-for-19 with four RBI. He is now batting .285-2-20.
Stetson’s offense was bolstered by the return of junior DH Josh Powers. After missing the previous five games with an oblique injury, Powers started all three games at NKU and knocked in three runs in the opener, including blasting his first career home run.
Sophomore Tyler Warmoth is currently tied for third in the A-Sun with a career-high seven saves.
Three Dot Data
After failing to homer in any of his previous 61 career games at Stetson, OF Mike Fernland has now homered in consecutive games after he went deep Tuesday against Bethune-Cookman ... LHP Adam Schaly has quietly developed into one of Stetson’s more reliable pitchers. Over his last five appearances Schaly is 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA ...1B/C Patrick Mazeika is hitting .476 (30-63) over his last 17 games ... Mazeika leads the A-Sun with a .503 on-base percentage, and ranks second with a .392 batting average ... C Garrett Russini has seen steady improvement in his offense in the last 17 games, raising his batting average from .203 to .285 by hitting .372 (22-59) in that span. He also has two homers and 18 RBI in those 15 games ... OF Mike Fernland and DH Josh Powers each connected for their first career home runs in the first game of last Saturday’s doubleheader at Northern Kentucky ... both homers came in the seventh inning, the first time the Hatters have hit multiple home runs in the same inning since May13, 2012 at ETSU ... when SS Tyler Bocock and Russini each homered in the first game of Stetson’s doubleheader at ETSU it marked the first time the Hatters had more than one home run in a game since also hitting a pair at ETSU on May 13, 2012, a span of 88 games.
The Hatters visit South Florida, 7 p.m., Tuesday, in Tampa.