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Hatters Overwhelming Favorites to Win ASUN Title

The Stetson baseball team will have a bull’s eye squarely on its back during the 2018 season after seven of the eight ASUN head coaches chose the Hatters to win the league title this spring.

It is the third time in the last dozen seasons that Stetson has been the preseason pick to win the conference title, but it is the first time the Hatters have earned that honor without having won the conference crown the previous year.

Logan Gilbert roars his arm back to pitch a fast one.

Logan Gilbert pitches May 25, 2017, in the ASUN Baseball Championship game 4 action between Stetson Hatters and the Lipscomb Bison at Melching Field in DeLand.

Stetson also led the way with five players named to the preseason All-Conference team including unanimous preseason Pitcher of the Year Logan Gilbert. The junior was the ASUN Pitcher of the Year in 2017 after posting a 10-0 record with a 2.02 ERA. He has been named to multiple preseason All-America teams this spring.

Two other players were unanimous selections to the ASUN preseason team. USC Upstate senior catcher Charlie Carpenter and Kennesaw State senior outfielder Taylor Allum were also tabbed by all of the head coaches. Carpenter was also the pick of the coaches as the preseason Player of the Year.

Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players on the preseason team.

Joining Gilbert on the ASUN preseason team from Stetson were junior pitcher Jack Perkins, sophomore shortstop Jorge Arenas, junior outfielder Jacob Koos and junior designated hitter Jack Gonzalez.

In addition to the five Hatters on the All-Conference team, Stetson senior catcher Austin Hale was tabbed as the league’s preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

While Stetson received seven first place votes in the preseason poll, the Hatters were followed by 2017 ASUN Tournament champion FGCU in second. The Eagles picked up the other first place vote. Defending regular season champion Jacksonville was picked to finish third with Kennesaw State, North Florida, Lipscomb, USC Upstate and NJIT rounding out the poll.

Jorge Arenas is about to catch the ball as a player slides into the plate

Hatter shortstop Jorge Arenas tries to stop the Lipscomb Bison during game 4 of the ASUN Baseball Championship last May at Melching Field.

The Hatters will open the 2018 season on Friday, Feb. 16, when the Manhattan Jaspers visit Melching Field to open a three-game series. The game is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start time.

Stetson is scheduled to play a total of 35 games at their home field this spring, including 21 consecutive home games to open the year. In addition, there will be three extra games as part of the Westin Lake Mary Stetson Invitational the first weekend of March with Purdue, Virginia Tech and Central Michigan competing. The Hokies will also play a pair of additional games in DeLand the first week of March.

The Hatters will begin preparation for Coach Steve Trimper‘s second season on Friday, January 26, with the first practice scheduled for 1 p.m. That is also the date of the annual Dick Westervelt First Pitch Banquet. That event is scheduled to begin with a “Happy Hour” from 5:30 until 6:30 p.m. at the Wayne Sanborn Center in Deland.

Tickets for the event are $20 per person. For more information on the banquet, and to purchase tickets in advance, click HERE.

Stetson will also hold an alumni game on Saturday morning, Jan. 27, with many recent former players, as well as players from the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s returning to Melching Field to square off against the current Stetson squad. That game is scheduled for an 11 a.m. start. The alumni players will be on the field at 4 p.m. on Friday to take batting practice. There will also be a tour of the upgrades being done at the facility with Coach Trimper.

Players are celebrating on sideline.

The Hatters took on High Point last February at Melching Field in DeLand.

Season tickets, including all of the games in the Westin Lake Mary Stetson Invitational as well as Virginia Tech games against Wagner and Central Michigan and a tilt between Army and Rhode Island, can be purchased for as little as $95 for general admission.

Contact the Stetson Athletics ticket office at 386-738-HATS, or visit GoHatters.com/tix, for more information on season tickets for baseball or any other sport.

-Ricky Hazel, Associate AD