The Hatters turned to “The Wizard” and did what they needed to do, winning 5-0. Senior starting pitcher Will Dorsey, known as “The Wizard” to his teammates, turned in seven shutout innings to key the victory.
Stetson jumped on top of the visiting Panthers (6-6) with four runs in the first inning and then rode solid pitching and defense to the win. The Hatters improved to 9-2 on the year with the win, the first in shutout fashion since blanking North Florida 6-0 last May 1.
The early offense gave Dorsey (2-0) all the confidence he needed.
“After last night’s game we had a little bad taste in our mouth,” Dorsey said of the Hatters’ 11-8 loss to Southern Illinois. “To come out today and start strong and get the early lead like we did, was big for our team.
“It is huge because, just to have that lead allows you to attack the zone and keep it moving with a good tempo. The name of the game is throwing strikes.”
Dorsey did that all afternoon, scattering seven hits over 7.0 innings with no walks and six strikeouts.
“I said after that first weekend when he didn’t get out of the second inning that it wasn’t the Dorsey that we’ve come to know and love,” Hatters coach Pete Dunn said. “That’s two quality starts for him now, and that’s what he does – he goes out there and throws his off speed stuff, throws strikes, pitches in, pitches out.”
The Hatters touched up Georgia State starter Ben Marshall (1-1) for four runs in the first inning with Ben Carhart, Spencer Theisen, Ryan Lashley and Robert Bruce all delivering run-scoring hits. Bruce started in leftfield in place of Kyle Zech who will be out of action indefinitely after suffering a shoulder injury on Saturday.
But, after that first inning, Stetson was only able to add one more run, despite having a couple of other chances. The Hatters added a run in the fifth when Lashley walked and then came around to score when Garrett Russini hit into a double play. Stetson then loaded the bases in the fifth against Marshall, but failed to score when Lashley popped out to end the inning.
“We kept thinking we were going to knock Marshall out of there,” Dunn said. “We had him on the ropes with the bases loaded and Lashley up there, and we had a chance to put it out of reach, but we couldn’t get a key base hit. So as it turned out, getting those four runs in the first were huge.”
While the Hatters have continued to win, Dunn said it is apparent that they team has not yet started to play up to its capabilities.
“The good thing about it is we’ve been winning when I don’t feel like we’ve been hitting on all cylinders,” Dunn said. “But 9-2 and saying you’re not hitting on all cylinders, I think I’ll take that right now.”
One player who has been hitting, literally, on all cylinders, is Carhart. The senior third baseman had his third three-hit game of the week on Sunday, lifting his batting average to a team-leading .422.
“I go up there with the approach to hit line drives,” Carhart said. “Sometimes I try to get big, which I know I shouldn’t, but I am seeing the ball well and they are falling in for me. I am getting a few lucky hits.”
Carhart added that the team was very focused going into Sunday’s game because of the way they played on Saturday.
“Last night we felt that it was a team effort in the loss because we didn’t feel like we came out ready to play,” Carhart said. “Getting out there and getting those four runs in the first today got us back to where we need to be.
“Coach Dunn tells us that championship teams show what they can do when they have to come back from a loss so it was good for us to come out today and get a W.”
The Hatters will have little time before taking the field again on Tuesday night as they continue an 11-game home-stand. The Maine Black Bears, fresh off dropping three games at Florida State, are 3-5 on the year and will be at Melching Field Tuesday night for a 6:30 p.m. start.
Stetson will host Harvard next weekend for a four game series starting on Friday at 6:30 p.m. with the other games scheduled for Saturday (6:30 p.m.), Sunday (4 p.m.) and Monday (6:30 p.m.)