A T L A N T I C
2011 Stetson Season In Review The 2011 Stetson Hatters went into the season with a goal of returning to the top of the Atlantic Sun Conference. Consider that mission accomplished. The Hatters dominated the race to the regular season league crown, clinching the regular season title with a Friday night win at Lipscomb with another week left to play in the season. Stetson wound up winning the title by four games over second place Jacksonville. Amazingly, winning the regular season title for the first time since 2007 was not as easy as it appeared on the surface. The Hatters went the final four weeks of the regular season, as well as through the post-season, without their No. 1 starter Kurt Schluter. The fact that Schluter was still named the league’s Pitcher of the Year in addition to earning numerous All-America accolades is a testament to how dominant he was. The sophomore posted an 8-0 record in his 10 starts with a 1.40 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 57.2 innings of work. There were plenty of players who stepped in to take up the slack after Schluter was hit by a batted ball. Juniors Will Dorsey (7-6, 4.52) and Lindsey Caughel (6-2, 4.88) had strong seasons on the mound. Even though Caughel also missed time due to injury, he was named second team All-Conference and was a 35th round pick of the Baltimore Orioles after the season. Another junior, Tucker Donahue (3-3, 3.76) stepped into the rotation and pitched well enough to get drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 38th round of the MLB Draft. The Hatters also got plenty of help from the bull pen. Juniors Jake Boyd (9-1, 2.93, six saves) and Robbie Powell (5-3, 3.42, eight saves) anchored the back end of the pen with dominant effectiveness. Sophomore Joe Dye (1-0, 3.95) proved to be a work-horse, appearing in 35 games on the mound. There were also newcomers who stepped in and performed well. Freshman Austin Perez was named to the A-Sun All-Freshman team after posting a 2-3 record with a 4.64 ERA in 21 appearances, including eight starts. Another freshman, Cameron Griffin (1-1, 4.50) appeared in 30 games on the mound. While the Hatters hurlers were getting the job done on the mound, the Stetson hitters were also making a mark. While the Hatters finished fifth in the A-Sun in hitting (.295) and fourth in runs scored (395), they were they only team to produce three first team All-Conference selections. Juniors Nick Rickles, Robert Crews and Mark Jones were all first team picks. Rickles, the Hatters’ catcher, led the team with a .347 average, 20 doubles and 12 home runs while slugging a team-leading .600. In addition to his league honors, Rickles was a second team All-America pick by Baseball America, third team by Collegiate Baseball was a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award. He was drafted in the 14th round of the MLB Draft by the Oakland A’s and started his professional career after the Stetson season ended. Jones and Crews both hit better than .330 on the season while anchoring the middle of the Hatters infield defense. They combined to drive in 76 runs and steal 27 bases during the season. In addition to the veterans up the middle, newcomer Ben Carhart proved himself to be a dangerous middle-of-the-order hitter. Originally signed to be the Stetson closer, he only appeared on the mound in one game due to ankle problems, but he made his mark by leading the team with 63 runs batted in while hitting .323 with seven home runs. Fans had a pretty good idea that they 2011 season would be special when the Hatters opened the year with a three-game home sweep of Georgia. By late March the Hatters had raced out to a 20-4 record that included a 7-1 league mark and a win, on
S U N ‘88 ‘89 ‘90 ‘00 Junior Nick Rickles drove in the winning run against N.C. State in the regional opener and was then a 14th round pick of the Oakland A’s. the road, against No. 4 Florida State. After a three-game slide in late March slowed the momentum, the Hatters got things going again. The team responded with a season-best nine-game win streak that turned into a stretch of winning 16-of-18 through the first week of May. Down the stretch, as the injuries continued to have an effect, the Hatters went 2-6 to close the regular season and then posted a 1-2 mark in the A-Sun Tournament. The reward Stetson received for an outstanding year was a trip back to the NCAA Tournament for the 17th time in school history. The destination was Columbia, SC, where the defending NCAA champion Gamecocks were set to begin defense of their title. The Hatters opened the regional with a thrilling walk-off victory over North Carolina State on a single by Rickles that drove home Sean Emory with the winning run. Stetson faced the then fourth-ranked Gamecocks in the second game, dropping an 11-5 decision to send the Hatters into an elimination game with N.C. State. Stetson jumped on top of the Wolfpack early in the second meeting and then held on for a 5-3 victory to earn another shot at the Gamecocks. The second game with USC started on Sunday afternoon, but had to be carried over to Monday because of bad weather. The Hatters were down 4-1 when play was halted, and closed to within 4-2 going to the ninth inning when the Gamecocks exploded for four runs to put the game, and the season for Stetson, to an end. South Carolina, of course, went on to win its second consecutive College World Series.
2012 Media Guide & Record Book
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C H A M P I O N S
2012 Baseball Media Guide & Record Book