Columbia, S.C. - Stetson started the game strong, yet could not hold off #4 South Carolina and fell 11-5 Saturday night in the Columbia, South Carolina Regional. The Hatters dropped to 42-19 on the season, 1-1 in the tournament, and will now have a rematch with North Carolina State Sunday at 1:00 p.m. in an elimination game. The winner will move on to face USC (47-14) in the championship round at 7:00 p.m.
Mitchel Brennan (Orlando, Fla.) led Stetson's offense with a 2-for-4 night that included three RBI after his second home run of the tournament. Jeff Simpson (Valrico, Fla.), Robert Crews (Port Charlotte, Fla.) and Sean Emory (Miami, Fla.) also had two hits each for the Hatters.
Stetson's confidence was high for the first two innings. Starting pitcher Will Dorsey (Atlantic Beach, Fla.) was throwing well and had a pair of strike outs, and first baseman Trey Blackman (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) belted his first career home run in the top of the second to give Stetson a 1-0 lead.
The tide turned in the bottom of the third when Dorsey uncharacteristically lost his control and could not get it back. He surrendered six runs on three hits, three walks and a hit batter. The final Gamecock he faced, Robert Beary (Apopka, Fla.) punctuated the rally with a grand slam deep to left field.
The Hatters came back from a five-run deficit Friday against the N.C. State, yet when USC added four more runs in the bottom of the fourth it took most of the wind from Stetson's sails. The Hatters did score three runs in the seventh on Brennan's home run and added one more in the ninth on an RBI fielder's choice by Simpson.
One of the bright spots in the game was the work put in on the mound by Jimmy O'Neill (Bradenton, Fla.). He tossed the final three innings and held USC hitless and scoreless while striking out two and walking none.
Stetson will return to Carolina Stadium Sunday for a 1:00 p.m. game against N.C. State and then hope to move on to play USC in the 7:00 p.m. nightcap. Stetson fans can hear the games on Hatter Vision at GoHatters.com with Bill Topping calling the action.
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