1st Time in School History, Hatters heading to NCAA Super Regional
Absolute domination. Those are the only two words that appropriately describe the performance by the Stetson Hatters during the 2018 NCAA DeLand Regional Tournament.
The Hatters put an exclamation point at the end of their tournament title run, scoring 10 runs in the third inning on Sunday night at Melching Field and then coasting to an 11-1 regional title game victory over Oklahoma State.
Just consider a few of the facts on the Hatters’ performance on the weekend.
- In Stetson’s 10-run inning, the biggest for the Stetson program since a 12-run inning against Bethune-Cookman on April 12, 2005, all nine players in the batting order scored. Freshman Kyle Ball, who started the inning with a single, got the honor of scoring twice in the frame.
- During the regional, the Hatters averaged almost 10 runs per game and held their opponents – Hartford and OSU, twice – to a combined three earned runs and just seven total runs.
- Stetson pitchers struck out a total of 40 batters in the three games, led by junior starters Logan Gilbert (14) and Jack Perkins (13).
- The Hatters’ record-breaking closer, senior Brooks Wilson, never even had to get warm in the bullpen. With nothing to do but hit for three days, Wilson earned tournament Most Outstanding Player honors by hitting .583 (7-for-12) with seven RBI and four runs scored.
- Besides Wilson, the Hatters placed five other players on the All-Tournament team: Jonathan Meola(3B), Jorge Arenas (SS), Jacob Koos (OF), Logan Gilbert (SP), Jack Perkins (SP).
All rolled together, the results were decisive.
While the Stetson offense will get a ton of credit for its performance in both victories over Oklahoma State (31-26-1), it was dominant pitching the quieted one of the most potent offensive groups from the Big XII Conference. After Gilbert’s performance on Saturday, it was Perkins (11-2) who was masterful in the title game.
The junior retired the first 10 Cowboys hitters to open the game and allowed just three base-runners through the first eight innings while tying his career-high with 13 strikeouts. It was not until an error in the ninth inning opened the door for OSU to score a run.
“Jack was electric tonight,” Hatters coach Steve Trimper said. “He’s a competitor, a bulldog. Tonight he threw all his pitches for strikes, he hit his spots. The bigger the scene for Jack, the better he performs, and certainly tonight was a big stage and we have bigger ones coming up too, but tonight, that was phenomenal.”
The only true challenge Perkins faced in posting his second complete game of the year was in sitting on the sideline for almost 45 minutes while his teammates built a 10-0 lead.
“I didn’t know when to go throw,” Perkins said. “When we got our first out, I was like, I think I should go throw some. Then we scored some more, so I had to throw some more to stay loose. That was the first time I ever had to go to the bullpen in the middle of an inning.”
The big inning started with Ball and included RBI hits from Mike Spooner, Jacob Koos, Wilson, Jonathan Meola, Austin Hale and Koos again. All told, 14 Hatters went to the plate in the inning against three OSU pitchers.
Stetson added another run in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by Hale, scoring Jorge Arenas, before settling in to click away the outs to the end of the game.
Besides Wilson, the Hatters got offensive production from up and down the lineup during the regional. Meola (.462), Koos (.417) and Spooner (.333) all had big weekends.
With the victory, the Hatters established a new program record with their 18th consecutive win. Stetson has also tied the program’s high-water mark for wins and will head into Super Regional play for the first time this week at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with a 48-11 mark on the season.
The Tar Heels (41-28), the No. 6 national seed in the tournament, advanced to the Super Regional round of play with a 19-11 victory over Houston Sunday evening.
Game times for the Super Regional will be announced as soon as they are available. The Hatters and Tar Heels will play a best two out of three series this weekend with the winner earning a ticket to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, on June 16.