Stetson rallies late to win series finale at Kennesaw State 9-3

The Hatters scored nine unanswered runs in the final three innings at Kennesaw State on Saturday, Mar. 26. by: Jim Hogue Photos

Through the first 17 innings of the Atlantic Sun series between the Hatters and Owls, Stetson head coach Frank Griffin watched his team scratch just one run across the plate.

“I told them around the fourth inning (Saturday) that I used to have a team that could string hits together and score runs, and I want my team back,” Griffin said. “By golly, they turned it around. They started swinging the bats, swinging at good pitches, and making a lot of things happen.”

Stetson scored nine unanswered runs over the final three innings to rally for a 9-3 victory over Kennesaw State in the A-Sun series finale Saturday afternoon at Bailey Park.

Jazz Vasquez hit a two-out, two-run single with the bases loaded in the top of the sixth inning to put the Hatters ahead for good.

Stetson (24-16, 3-3 A-Sun) added five insurance runs in the seventh inning, highlighted by Talli Sharp’s bases-loaded single.

“It was an awesome game,” Vasquez said. “We did the simple things. We got base hit after base hit, we took the walks that we could get, and it ended up working perfectly.”

Brooke Hutto pitched 5.2 scoreless innings of relief to earn the victory. She entered the game in the bottom of the second with the Hatters trailing 3-0, but she shut down the Owls (20-11, 4-2) the rest of the way.

“I was just trying to keep my team in the game,” Hutto said. “I knew I could rely on them both defensively and offensively. I just went in there and trusted myself and my team.”

Hutto scattered three hits and two walks while striking out four. The Hatter freshman held the Owls to 0-for-9 with runners on base.

“Brooke was on today,” Griffin said. “That’s the thing about all of our pitchers – on any given day, they can get the job done. With experience they will become more consistent.”

Stetson cut the deficit to 3-2 in the fifth and threatened again in the sixth. With the bases loaded and two outs, Vasquez sliced one down the left field line to score the tying and go-ahead runs.

“I asked her to get up in the box, and that gave her more territory,” Griffin said. “Thank goodness she did, because the ball landed just fair.”

The win moved the Hatters to 3-3 in the conference with all six games coming on the road. Stetson will play nine of its next 12 conference games at home, including next weekend’s series with USC Upstate.

“We showed a lot of character coming back from 3-0 today,” Griffin said. “We showed a lot of heart.”