#2) South Florida Bulls (0-1) vs #4) Hartford Hawks (0-1)
USF 9, Hartford 4
The first elimination game of the DeLand Regional provided fans with an electric show. The Hartford Hawks tied the contest up in the bottom of the ninth, however, a five-run 11th inning by South Florida proved to be too much for the Hawks, who are now eliminated after losing 9-4.
Coco Montes started things with a leadoff home run in the top of the first for USF, giving one of the nation’s top pitchers, Shane McClanahan, an early lead which he would not surrender. McClanahan lasted five innings, giving up five hits, two earned runs, four walks and striking out three. When Hartford hitters attacked McClanahan early, they were able to find the gaps and produce hits, however, his 94-96 mph fastball that hits every corner proved to be too much in the end.
It was David Villar’s two-run single in the 11th that gave the Bulls all they needed to win. Just for good measure, Joe Genord followed it up with a three-run home run, his 17th jack of the year.
Hartford senior Nick Campana finished his college career by going 3-5 and scoring three runs for the Hawks after going 0-5 against Stetson.
South Florida must now beat Oklahoma State once and the DeLand Regional host, Stetson Hatters, twice in a row, if they want to continue their 2018 season.
#1 Stetson Hatters (1-0) vs Oklahoma State Cowboys (1-0)
Stetson 10, Oklahoma State 3
Logan Gilbert can go toe-to-toe with any pitcher in the country. The soon-to-be first-round MLB draft pick dominated through seven innings, allowing five hits, two runs and striking out 14 Cowboy hitters. He surpassed the 300 strikeout mark and combined with Ben Onyshko (five strikeouts) to break the Atlantic Sun Conference for team strikeouts in a season with 604.
A five-run fifth inning propelled the Hatters’ offense, lead by a Jorge Arenas three-run home run. Brooks Wilson and Mike Spooner both pushed their batting averages to over .300 with 3-3 and 2-3 days at the plate, respectively.
The Cowboys were rattled from the start of the game, from starting pitcher Joe Lienhard’s inability to settle in and find a rhythm to Carson McCusker’s lackadaisical play in right field that allowed an easy first inning run.
Saturday night’s game also featured one of the more eye-popping catches you have ever seen.
Stetson can win the DeLand Regional with just one more win over either South Florida or Oklahoma State. The Hatters will play the winner of that game on Sunday evening.