LakePoint, Ga. - When Stetson steps on to the field at Boshamer Stadium in Chapel Hill, NC on Friday morning to take on the No. 6 national seed North Carolina Tar Heels, they will be making their first-ever Super Regional appearance in program history. This will be the 14th all-time meeting between the Hatters and Heels, with Stetson holding a 8-5 advantage. It also marks the second-straight season an ASUN team will face North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament, as FGCU faced off with the Tar Heels in Regional play a year ago.
Stetson, the No. 11 national seed, continues to be the hottest team in the country as they roll into the Chapel Hill Super Regional. They are winners of their last 18, which sets a new program record. The Hatters are coming of a clean sweep in the DeLand Regional with dominating performances over Hartford and twice against Oklahoma State. In three games throughout the regional, the Hatters outscored their opponents 29-7 and their pitching staff allowed just three earned runs in the process. Led by a trio of Logan Gilbert, Jack Perkins and Mitchell Senger, the Hatters boast the nation's best ERA at 2.58 and have recorded an ASUN record 617 team strikeouts. Gilbert, an All-American and first round pick of the Seattle Mariners, was dominant in the regionals as he went seven innings, allowing just two earned, while scattering five hits and striking out a season-high 14 batters. Perkins did one better the following night in the regional clincher as he fired a complete game, allowing just three hits and one earned run, while punching out a season-high 13 batters. This season, the Hatters are a combined 29-3 in games that Gilbert and Perkins start. Senger, the third man of the trio, sits 8-3 with a 2.56 ERA with 110 Ks. In the regional, he fired three scoreless innings in relief to pick up the win over Hartford. In his last start, he fired a complete game shutout against North Florida in the ASUN Championship Final.
The Hatters also have formidable arms in the bullpen. They feature perhaps the best closer in the nation in two-way star Brooks Wilson. Wilson is tied for the nation's lead in saves with 20, which also is an ASUN single-season record. Aside from Wilson, Ben Onyshko has also been a reliable arm out of Steve Trimper's bullpen this season. The Canadian southpaw has thrown 33.1 innings in 21 appearances this season, while posting a 2.70 ERA, 42 strikeouts and impressive K/9 of 11.34.
The Stetson offense is starting to click at just the right time. The 29 runs they scored in the DeLand Regional were more than they scored in any three-game weekend series this season. Wilson's bat exploded in the regional, as he hit .583 (7-12) with seven RBIs, three runs, two doubles and a triple. Centerfielder Jacob Koos has also come on strong since the beginning of the ASUN Championship. Since then, he's batting .346 with nine runs, six RBIs and three walks. He also swiped three bags last weekend, upping his team lead to 22. The Hatters are only batting .255 as a club, but they are batting nearly 50 points higher with runners in scoring positon at .303. There no two better examples of this than shortstop Jorge Arenas and first basemen Eric Foggo. For the season, Arenas is hitting a mere .242, while Foggo is at .243, but with runners in scoring position they are up to .338 and .410, respectively. In their first win over OSU in the regional, Arenas busted the game wide open with a two-out, three-run homer.
Record: 48-11; 15-3
Record in NCAA Tournament: 21-34 (NCAA D-I Appearances; 1982, '84, '88, '89, '90, '92, '96, '97, 2000, '01, '02, '03, '05, '06, '07, '11, '16, '18)
- This is Stetson's 18th D-I appearance in the NCAA Tournament and first ever appearance in the Super Regional. They are just the third ASUN team ever to make the Supers since the current format began in 1999.
- The Hatters' 48 wins are tied for most in program history. Stetson won 48 games back in 2000. Their 48 wins sit tied for 11th most in ASUN history; the record is 54 set by FAU in 1999.
- With alums like Corey Kluber and Jacob deGrom, this year's version of the Hatters also carries that pitching excellence. They enter the Super Regionals with a minuscule 2.58 staff ERA (best in the nation), and an ASUN Record 617 team strikeouts.
- Hatters' ace, Logan Gilbert, was drafted by the Seattle Mariners with the 14th pick in the first round in Monday night's MLB Draft. He becomes the fourth highest pick to come out of the ASUN. Georgia Southern's Joey Hamilton went 8th in 1991, KSU's Max Pentecost went 11th in 2014 and Chris Sale went 13th overall in 2010.
- This season Gilbert is 11-1 with a 2.52 ERA, 157 Ks, while allowing 21 walks and hitters to hit .179 against him. His 157 strikeouts lead the nation. For his career Gilbert owns a 23-2 record with 307 strikeouts and a 2.38 ERA.
- One of the top two-way players in the nation, Brooks Wilson enters the Super Regional with 20 saves on the season, a new ASUN single-season record. He also is batting .287 with 16 doubles and 34 RBI. Wilson was recently drafted in the seventh round of the 2018 MLB Draft
- Wilson was named MVP of the DeLand Regional after hitting .583 (7-12) with seven RBIs, three runs, two doubles and a triple.
- Mitchell Senger, Stetson's Sunday start for most of the year, is 8-3 on the year with a 2.56 ERA and is second on the team in Ks with 110. In Stetson's Regional opener against Hartford, Senger fired three innings in relief to pick up the W.
- Joey Gonzalez holds the team's best ERA among starting pitchers as he enters the Super Regional with a 1.75 mark. He picked up midweek wins against #14 Florida State and #24 UCF this season. Gonzalez tossed six innings of one-run ball in the Regional against Hartford.
- Centerfielder Jacob Koos has turned it on in postseason play. Since the start of the ASUN Championship, Koos is hitting .346 with nine runs, six RBIs and three walks. He also leads the team in steals with 22.