JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—Stetson scored nine unanswered runs over the final three innings as the Hatters rallied for a 14-9 win over Atlantic Sun Conference foe North Florida, Saturday at Harmon Stadium. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Stetson.
The Hatters (18-27 overall, 7-10 A-Sun) started and finished strong but nearly let the game get away in the middle innings, as UNF (18-24, 8-12) scored eight of its nine runs in between the fourth and sixth innings. The Hatters and Ospreys also combined for 11 errors.
Trailing 9-5 after six innings, Stetson didn’t go away, as the Hatters immediately rallied with four runs in the top of the seventh. Mike Fernland had a two-run double, Jordan Schulz forced home a run with a bases-loaded walk, and Kyle Fagan tied the game with a fielder’s choice grounder.
The Hatters padded their lead with four runs in the top of the ninth. Fagan and Tyler Bocock each had RBI hits, and Russini knocked in a pair with a single as Stetson took a 14-9 lead into the bottom of the ninth.
Tyler Warmoth (2-3), who was summoned out of the bullpen to start the seventh, picked up the win with three shutout innings of relief. He allowed two hits and struck out six batters.
Stetson started the game strong, scoring twice in the first inning. After Bocock reached on a one-out error and Mazeika followed with a walk, Russini lined an 0-1 pitch down the left field line to score both runners for a 2-0 lead.
North Florida cut the lead in half when Trent Higgenbothem led off the second inning with a solo home run.
Stetson committed three errors in the bottom of the fourth, allowing UNF to tie the game. Two errors occurred on one batter, as first baseman Powers dropped a foul pop up by Drew Weeks, and shortstop Bocock allowed Weeks’ hard hit grounder to get through his legs. With the bases loaded and two outs, Perez walked Alex Bacon to force in the first run, and two more runs scored when Bocock threw away Ty Kelly’s grounder.
Higginbotham gave UNF a 5-4 lead with an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth, but Fagan tied the game when his double off the wall in right field plated Fernland.
UNF momentarily broke the game open in the sixth. Ty Kelly hit a one-out solo home run, and the Ospreys followed by loading the bases with one out. Reliever Kurt Schluter plunked his first batter to force in a run and make it a 7-5 game. Higginbothem followed with an RBI single and Patrick Ervin knocked in a run with a fielder’s choice as the Ospreys increased their lead to 9-5. But those were the last runs scored by UNF.
The Hatters pounded out 15 hits for the game, with Fagan and Powers each collecting three hits. Fagan and Russini each knocked in four runs, while Fernland accounted for three RBI.
Austin Perez started for Stetson but lasted 4.2 innings. He allowed five runs (two earned) on four hits.
The Hatters and Ospreys wrap up their series at 1 p.m., Sunday.