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by: Stetson University
Hatters Host Upstate; Senior Day Friday
Courtesy: Stetson University  
Release:  05/14/2014
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Stetson closes out the regular season portion of its 2014 schedule when the Hatters host A-Sun foe USC Upstate for a three-game series, beginning 6:30 p.m., Thursday at Melching Field.
    The Hatters will be honoring their seniors prior to Friday’s game as this is the last home series for Robert Bruce, Mike Fernland, Austin Perez, Kurt Schluter, K’Shawn Smith and Kyle Zech.
    Stetson has qualified for the A-Sun Tournament, which is May 21-25 at Swanson Stadium in Ft. Myers, Fla. Currently seventh in the standings, the Hatters can finish as high as fifth.
Stetson and USC Upstate have met 20 times prior to this weekend, with the Hatters holding a 12-8 advantage in the series.
    The Hatters and Spartans first met in 2008 when Upstate first joined the Atlantic Sun Conference. The teams have each fared better on the road than at home, as Stetson is 7-2 in games played in Spartanburg and just 5-6 in DeLand.

Stetson enters the season’s final weekend with some significant momentum after winning two of three games at then-league leader Mercer last week. After suffering a heart-breaking 4-2 loss in the opener against the Bears, the Hatters bounced back by winning a pair of one-run games (3-2, 4-3) on Saturday and Sunday.
    Coming on the heels of a series win over Jacksonville the week before, Stetson enters this weekend in position to win three consecutive conference series for the first time this season.
    The Hatters have reshuffled their starting rotation as they prepare for tournament play. Freshman right-hander Taylor Cockrell, who prior to last week had been starting the last game each weekend, will start the opener against the Spartans. Senior lefty Austin Perez, who has pitched to a 4.37 ERA over his last five starts, remains as Stetson’s number two starter.
    Offensively, junior catcher Garrett Russini continues to lead the way. Russini is performing at a .306/.382/.500 clip and has steadily improved throughout the season. He was a force last weekend at Mercer, going 6-for-12 with three doubles.
    Overall, the Hatters are hitting .299 in A-Sun play while averaging 5.3 runs per game, significant improvements on their overall numbers (.265, 4.3).
    But is hasn’t been just all Russini and 1B/C Patrick Mazeika (.366/.489/.489) at the plate. OF Mike Fernland is hitting .295 since becoming a regular 24 games ago; DH Josh Powers is hitting at a .294 clip in league play, and  OF Kevin Fagan is hitting .395 with a .439 on-base percentage in his last nine games.

Former Stetson baseball standout Jacob deGrom was recalled by the New York Mets on Monday and is expected to join the big league club in time for Tuesday night’s game against the Yankees in Yankee Stadium.
    deGrom, a right-handed pitcher who was summoned from Triple A Las Vegas, is the 10th Stetson player to reach the Major Leagues. He joins current Atlanta Braves third baseman Chris Johnson and Cleveland Indians pitcher Cory Kluber as active Hatters in the big leagues.
    The 25-year old deGrom, who was ranked as the Mets No. 10 prospect by Baseball America entering 2014, was 4-0 with a 2.58 ERA in seven starts with the 51s. He is expected to pitch out of the Mets bullpen, though he has never worked in relief as a professional (58 appearances, 58 starts).
    deGrom played three seasons at Stetson (2008-10) and spent time as both a shortstop and pitcher, though he didn’t spend any significant time on the mound until his junior year when he was 4-5 with a 4.48 ERA in 82.1 innings over 17 appearances. The Mets selected deGrom in the ninth round of the 2010 MLB Draft.

Right-hander Taylor Cockrell has arguably been Stetson’s best starting pitcher this season, and his performance this season has put him in some pretty elite history as far as Stetson freshman pitchers are concerned.
    Cockrell won his fifth game of the season against Jacksonville, the most victories for a Stetson freshman since Justin Dechert won six games in 2007.
    With 85.1 innings under his belt and at least two starts remaining, Cockrell has already thrown the most innings by a freshman since Jack Collins also tossed 85.1 innings in 2001.

Patrick Mazeika is on the verge of a somewhat dubious -- and painful -- Stetson record. Mazeika has been hit by pitch a record-tying 17 times this season, and is one HBP shy of the mark outright ... Stetson’s sweep of Lipscomb was its second weekend sweep of the year (Siena) and its first in A-Sun play since sweeping Northern Kentucky last season (May 10-12) ... with 16 home runs as a team Stetson has more than doubled its homer out-put from last season (7) ... thru 53 games this season, the Hatters have collected 130 extra-base hits. In 57 games in 2013, Stetson recorded 91 XBH ... after going 88 games without a multi-homer game, Stetson has hit two home runs in a game four times this season, including both games of Sunday’s doubleheader with Jacksonville ... OF Mike Fernland and DH Josh Powers each connected for their first career home runs in the first game of Stetson’s doubleheader at Northern Kentucky (April 5) ... 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 C Garrett 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 ... head coach Pete Dunn won his 1,250th game in Sunday’s win at Mercer.

Stetson’s baseball team was picked to finish sixth in the 2014 Atlantic Sun Conference race, and sophomore first baseman Patrick Mazeika was a unanimous selection to the Preseason All-Conference team in voting by A-Sun head coaches.
    The Hatters received a total of 60 points in the coaches poll, finishing just behind fifth place Kennesaw State (64). Stetson returns six seniors among its 19 letter winners from last season’s 26-31 squad.
    Defending regular-season champion Mercer received seven first place votes and 97 total points en route to being named as the preseason favorite. North Florida (86) received one first place vote, while Florida Gulf Coast (73) received two first place votes. Defending tournament champion East Tennessee (69) is fourth in the preseason poll, followed by Kennesaw State, Stetson, Lipscomb (34), USC Upstate (30), Jacksonville (27) and Northern Kentucky (10).
    Mazeika was one of three unanimous selections to the Preseason All-Conference team. The 2013 A-Sun Freshman of the Year, Mazeika batted .382 with three home runs and 33 RBI in 57 games. Mazeika was also a first-team all-conference selection and was a consensus Freshman All-America honoree.

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