JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The top-seeded Stetson Hatters used excellent pitching and timely hitting to collect the first win of the 2018 ASUN Conference Baseball Championship, defeating No. 6 NJIT 7-2 on Wednesday afternoon.
Joey Gonzalez, a Second Team All-Conference selection, pitched 6.0 quality innings for the Hatters to earn the win. Today's start was his first against ASUN opposition, and Gonzalez didn't disappoint as he struck out six batters and only allowed one run on five hits. Sean Lubreski took the loss for the Highlanders as he gave up five runs in six innings of work.
Offensively, the Hatters used a familiar formula in the first inning to get on the board first. Mike Spooner singled to right and then stole second base. After a walk to Jacob Koos, the ASUN Player of the Year, Brooks Wilson, drove home Spooner with an RBI single to left field to make it 1-0. The Hatters added two more runs as Jorge Arenas added an RBI single, with the third run coming on a throwing error to make it 3-0 after one.
NJIT got a run back in the third inning as the program's all-time career hits leader, Jesse Uttendorfer got the first Highlander postseason hit to drive home Tom Brady and make the score 3-1. In the bottom of the 4th, Andrew MacNeil drove a 1-0 pitch to deep right center for a two-run homer to give Stetson some breathing room going up 5-1 after that shot. Jorge Arenas hit a solo homer, this third of the season in the bottom of the eighth to make the final score 7-2 in favor of the Hatters.
Jack Perkins and Wilson pitched out of the bullpen to close things out for the Hatters. Perkins, a First Team All-Conference selection as a starter, made his first relief appearance of the year and worked one scoreless inning. Wilson, the nation's top closer, pitched the final two innings and allowed only one run. The Hatters are back in action on Thursday at 3 PM, while the Highlanders will face an elimination game on Thursday at 11 AM here at Harmon Stadium.
No. 1 Stetson vs. No. 6 NJIT Additional Notes
- The nationally-ranked Hatters improve to 42-11 on the season following today's win. Stetson is now 30-3 on the season when scoring five runs or more in 2018.
- Brooks Wilson registered two RBI to bring his season total to 26. The Hatters are 10-0 against ASUN opponents when Wilson has an RBI or more.
- Stetson had three stolen bases in today's contest giving them 75 on the season. Stetson improved its record to 23-1 when stealing multiple bases in a game.
- NJIT's starting pitcher Sean Lubreski recorded a new season-high in strikeouts today. He picked up seven, while his previous season-best was five.
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