The Bulls, 14-11, are set to host Stetson (game begins at 6:30 PM) in an important game before conference play begins this weekend. The Hatters are 12-13 on the season and lost 3 to 2 back on March 15th back in Deland. The Hatters have lost 4 straight coming into this game (one to Dartmouth, 3 to Coastal Carolina) by a combined scored of 50 to 10 over that stretch.
The Bulls are currently hitting .247 as a team and have a staff ERA of 3.68 (opponents are hitting .235 against them). For the Hatters they are batting .249 as a team while their staff has a 3.83 ERA (opponents are hitting .277 against them). Hopefully the bad pitching continues in this game for the USF offense that continues to go young with Levi Borders out for the year.
The Hatters offense is led by senior outfielder John Fussell who is batting .293 on the year with a double, one home run, 14 RBIs and has scored 8 runs on the year. He was 0 for 4 with a strike out in the first meeting. Freshman short stop Matt Morales is batting .282 with 4 doubles, 10 RBIs and has scored 10 runs on the year. He was 1 for 4 with a walk in the first game. Senior 1st baseman Will Mackenzie is batting .207 with 5 doubles, 2 home runs, 12 RBIs, and has scored 10 runs on the year. He was 0 for 4 with a strike out in the first match-up. Brad Labozzetta got the victory in his start against them last time, going 6 innings, allowing 4 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, and struck out 6 batters. Even if he doesn’t start, they key will be to get to Tommy Eveld who has a .84 ERA and 5 saves on the year. He has struck out 32 batters in 21.1 innings of work on the year. He recorded the save in the first meeting, allowing 2 hits in the process.
The Hatters have been roughed up lately on the mound, but senior LHP Adam Schlay did well against USF in the first meeting. He went 4 innings, allowing 6 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks and struck out 7 batters. He is 1-2 on the year (4.71 ERA) and has thrown 21 innings, allowing just 4 walks and striking out 18 batters in the process. Like Labozzetta and Eveld, even if he doesn’t start, Stetson will want to get into the hands of junior RHP Walker Sheller in late inning situations. He has 6 saves on the year with a 1.02 ERA while striking out 20 batters in 17.2 innings of work. For the USF offense to be successful, they will need the young lineup to strike early to avoid facing Sheller without a lead. Chris Chatfield leads USF with 6 home runs and 19 RBIs (was 0 for 1 pinch hitting in the first game) while veteran Luke Maglich leads the team in average with a .290 mark and his 17 for 17 in steal attempts. They, along with Kevin Merrell and company, will need to get that early lead and keep the weekend momentum going.