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Stetson Baseball’s 18-Game Win Streak Snapped By UNC

By on June 8, 2018 in WNDB News

Chapel Hill, NC – For the first time ever last weekend, Stetson University’s baseball program hosted the Regional round of the NCAA Tournament, and the Hatters looked dominant as it swept its way through to get to its first Super Regional.

It was a much different story today in North Carolina.

Tar Heels right fielder Cody Roberts’ three-run homer broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the 5th inning, giving the University of North Carolina (42-18) the lead for good in a 7-4 victory at Boshamer Stadium in Chapel Hill.

The loss snaps an 18-game win streak for Stetson (48-12) and is the first for head coach Steve Trimper’s ballclub since a road game on April 22nd against Atlantic Sun Conference opponent New Jersey Institute of Technology. The win streak was also the best currently in Division I and the longest in Stetson baseball history.

Needing only one win this weekend to set the single-season victory record in program history and needing two to secure a College World Series berth, things looked good early for Stetson.

Hatters right fielder Mike Spooner took UNC starting pitcher Cooper Criswell deep in the top of the 1st inning, hitting a liner that cleared the right field fence for a 1-0 lead.

But the Heels wasted no time knotting the game up in the bottom of the 1st inning thanks to a sacrifice fly from center fielder Brandon Riley, scoring first baseman Michael Busch from 3rd base.

Criswell and Logan Gilbert – Stetson’s starting pitcher – traded zeroes the rest of the way until the bottom of the 5th inning. That’s when Gilbert – a junior who, earlier this week, became the highest Major League Baseball draft pick in Stetson history – was victimized by the long ball.

With two outs in that frame, third baseman Kyle Datres kept hope alive with a single up the middle. Gilbert then walked Busch on a full count, setting the stage for Roberts’ three-run homer and eventually handing Gilbert just the third loss in his college career.

Stetson showed signs of life in the top of the 7th inning, plating two runs thanks to a throwing error from Datres which scored Hatters third baseman Jon Meola from 3rd base and a wild pitch from UNC reliever Josh Hiatt which scored Stetson catcher Austin Hale from 3rd base.

But that’s when the #6 overall seed dropped the hammer on the #11 overall seed, tacking on three more runs in the bottom of the 7th thanks to a two-run homer from Busch off Stetson pitcher Joey Gonzalez and a bases-loaded walk drawn by second baseman Zack Gahagan off Stetson’s Ben Onyshko after he replaced Gonzalez on the mound.

The Hatters made a furious rally in the top of the 9th inning, loading the bases before designated hitter Brooks Wilson flew out to the left field warning track to end the game. Prior to that, a single from Spooner scored pinch-hitter Baylen Sparks.

UNC starter Austin Bergner got the final out in relief of Hiatt to earn the save, while Criswell picked up the win.

Game Two is set for Noon tomorrow from Boshamer Stadium. Game Three – if needed – will be at Noon Sunday from Boshamer.

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