KENNESAW, Ga.—Stetson fell one rally short on Sunday as Kennesaw State scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the eighth as the Owls rallied for a 9-8 win over the Hatters in Atlantic Sun Conference play at Stillwell Stadium. The win gave KSU a sweep of the weekend series.
After Stetson (14-23 overall, 3-9 A-Sun) tied the game at 8-8 with three runs in the top of the eighth, the Owls (19-20, 6-9) used a one-out walk by Max Pentecost and a double by Bo Way in the bottom of the inning to put runners at second and third. With Colin Bennett batting, reliever Kevin Fagan’s wild pitch allowed Pentecost to score the eventual winning run.
Stetson threatened in the top of the ninth when Garrett Russini drew a lead-off walk. But K’Shawn Smith struck out, two pitches after having a hit-by-pitch waved off by the home plate umpire, and pinch-runner Mitch Piatnik was subsequently picked off at first to end the threat. After a two-out walk to Kyle Pitts, Jordan Schulz popped out to end the game.
As they did in each of the first two games, Kennesaw State took a lead in the first inning when Max Pentecost blasted a two-run home run.
Kennesaw State took advantage of several defensive miscues in the bottom of the inning to extend their lead. With one out, Pentecost lofted a fly ball to shallow left field. Shortstop Tyler Bocock and left fielder Mike Fernland converged on the ball, and Bocock gave way when Fernland called him off. But the ball dropped in as Pentecost reached second.
After a walk to Bo Way, Colin Bennett grounded a run-scoring single under third baseman Pitts’s glove, scoring Pentecost for a 3-1 lead. A ground out put runners at second and third, and Way later scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-1.
Stetson battled back in the top of the fifth. Patrick Mazeika and Russini each had an RBI single to get the Haters within 4-3.
Alex Liquori gave the Owls some breathing room in the bottom of the fifth with a two-run double to make it 6-3. KSU used a run-scoring groundout to make it 7-3 in the sixth.
Russini pulled the Hatters to within 7-5 with a two-run home run in the top of the seventh, but once again KSU responded, getting sacrifice fly from Dylan Ivey in the bottom of the inning to push the lead to 8-5.
Stetson knotted the game in the top of the eighth. Pitts and Fernland led off the inning with singles. Colton Lightner followed with a sacrifice bunt which was misplayed by the Owls, allowing Pitts to score to make it 8-6.
Fagan’s groundout scored Fernland to make it 8-7, and Bocock tied the game with a sacrifice fly.
Reliever Tyler Keller (0-1) suffered the loss for Stetson and James Connell (3-3) earned the win for the Owls.
Stetson had 12 hits, with Mazeika and Pitts recording three each.
The Haters next visit USF, 7 p.m., Tuesday in Tampa, Fla.