Stetson came into Sunday’s series finale at Melching Field looking for a weekend sweep of visiting George Washington and, after spotting the Colonials a five-run lead in the first, the Hatters were able to battle back to get the job done.
Senior Ben Carhart provided the muscle to finally give the Hatters the lead with a three-run homer in the sixth inning as Stetson went on to take a 13-8 victory on a wind-blown afternoon.
“That was a big win,” Stetson coach Pete Dunn said. “To get behind by that much early, we just talked about being patient. We have some confidence that we are going to be able to score some runs, especially in the third game of a series. You just can’t panic.”
Senior Will Dorsey was never able to get comfortable on the mound for Stetson and left the game in the second inning after surrendering five runs on six hits in an inning plus. The Hatters bullpen came on and did a good job of holding GW to just three runs the rest of the day.
“Dorsey is going to be OK,” Dunn said. “When I took him out I knew he was down, but I told him that he would be right back out there next weekend. Our bullpen did a good job.”
The Hatters answered the big early inning by scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the first and two more in the second. Carhart and Ryan Lashley drove in runs on ground outs in the first after GW starter Tyler McCarthy walked the bases loaded. An error and another ground out plated the two runs in the second.
Stetson tied the game in the fourth on an RBI single by Robert Crews, but the Colonials came back in the fifth to plate three runs on a pair of two-out hits off Tucker Donahue. Kyle Gelling drove in two with a single to shallow right and Ollie Mittag followed with a run-scoring hit.
The Hatters got back within a run in the home half of the fifth on doubles by Carhart, Spencer Theisen and Mitchel Brennan off GW reliever Kenny O’Brien (0-1). The lefty side-winder kept the Stetson hitters guessing for four innings before the Hatters finally got to him.
“He got out of some jams, even though we hit some balls hard off him,” Dunn said.
O’Brien was unable to get out of the last jam he faced, in the sixth when he surrendered a one-out walk to Crews, followed by a Sam Kimmel single to bring Carhart to the plate again.
“I was sitting on the fastball and looking to take it away like I had done in the two previous at bats, but he hung a curveball over the middle and I was able to get it up into the wind,” Carhart said of his three-run homer that put Stetson on top. “I am not that strong and the ball usually doesn’t go that far, so I think the wind helped it some.”
Dunn said Carhart just did what he usually does.
“Ben had a big hit and he is so versatile,” Dunn said. “You saw him go for two doubles down the right field line when they pitched him away and then, when they got the ball in on him, he turned on it and gave us a big lift and the lead for the first time. He is a clutch player.”
Stetson added another run in the sixth to pad the lead and then added a pair of insurance markers in the eighth inning.
Carhart’s homer gave the win to Stetson senior reliever Jake Boyd (1-0), who was the fourth Hatters hurler of the day and allowed just two hits with two strikeouts over 2.1 innings of work. Robbie Powell closed the door over the final two innings for Stetson to earn his first save of the year.
“I am proud of our ball club because that is a big win,” Dunn said. “We got behind 5-0 in the first, and that is not the way we drew it up. The thing I am really proud of is playing in a game like that and making no errors. We made just the one error all weekend on the first play of the game on Friday, and then didn’t make another error. If we had kicked the ball around today, we could have lost the game very easily.
Carhart led the Hatters with three hits and four RBI in the game. Theisen, Brennan and Kyle Zech had two hits each and Zech plated three runs. Mittag led GW with three hits while Gelling, Matthew Murakami and Owen Beightol had two hits each.
The Hatters will be back in action on Friday night at Melching Field when they open a four-game series against Central Michigan from the Mid-American Conference. The Chippewas took the final game of their series this weekend at Troy and will visit Stetson with a 1-2 record on the year.
The teams will play a single game on Friday night, with the first pitch slated for 6:30 p.m. DeLand native, and Atlanta Braves star, Chipper Jones will be on hand to throw out the first pitch on Friday. Little League players 12 years of age and under will be allowed on the field for a group photo after the first pitch.
No adults will be allowed on the field. All photos must be taken from the stands.
The Hatters and Chippewas will play a double-header on Saturday with the first game scheduled for a 2 p.m. start. The series finale is scheduled for Sunday afternoon with a 1 p.m. first pitch.