FT. MYERS, Fla. -- Stetson junior Cory Reid hit a two-out, two-run home run in the bottom the 16th inning on Wednesday night to lift the Hatters to an 8-7 victory against Jacksonville in the opening round of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament.
The game took more than seven hours to complete, thanks in part to a weather delay after the fourth inning that lasted two and a half hours. The game was also the longest in A-Sun Tournament history, besting a 15-inning game between Stetson and Belmont in the 2012 A-Sun Tournament opener.
The comeback in the 16th inning was not the first in the game for Stetson. The Hatters were hitless against JU starter Michael Baumann through the first four innings of the game before lightning from a nearby thunderstorm brought proceedings to a halt. The Dolphins led the game 1-0 when the game was stopped thanks to a second inning run off Hatters starter Mitchell Jordan.
After the long weather delay, both teams came back with new pitchers, and the Dolphins took advantage, scoring four runs in the fifth inning off Stetson sophomore Walker Sheller.
“We have been playing pretty well and our kids felt that they could come back,” Hatters coach Pete Dunn said. “Sheller gave up those four runs, but then he settled down and we were able to scratch out a few. That was a pretty emotional game for both teams and there was a lot of stuff going on.”
The Hatters got on the board in the sixth inning, scoring three times off three JU relievers to cut the Dolphins’ lead to 5-3. Will Mackenzie had the big blow in the frame with a two-run home run, his seventh of the year.
JU got a run back in the eighth inning on a double by J.J. Gould, but the Hatters answered in the bottom of the frame when Vance Vizcaino led off with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly by Patrick Mazeika.
In the ninth inning, the Hatters were down to their final out with Colton Lightner at second base when Garrett Russini singled up the middle and then Brooks Wilson hit a high fly ball that JU centerfielder Parker Perez never saw. The ball fell harmlessly to the grass, allowing Kevin Fagan, who pinch ran for Russini, to score from second with the tying run.
From there, the respective closers took control of the game. Stetson’s Tyler Warmoth (1-1) came on to pitch for the Hatters in the ninth inning, and he blanked JU for six innings. Jacksonville’s Nathan Disch (3-3) was equally as dominant, blanking Stetson until the fateful 16th.
“I am getting too old for this,” Warmoth said. “My knees hurt, by back hurts, my finger hurts, everything hurts. This is awesome. You couldn’t have drawn that up any better.”
JU broke through against Warmoth in the top of the inning when Cameron Griffin pulled a ground ball through the right side, scoring Angelo Amendolare from second.
Stetson answered in the bottom of the inning when Fagan singled through the left side to open the frame. After Kyle Pitts dropped a sacrifice bunt to move Fagan into scoring position, Vizcaino flew out to left to bring Reid to the plate. He jumped on the first pitch he saw from Disch.
“I got a fastball right down the middle and I was able to put a good swing on it,” Reid said. “When I went up there I was thinking that I blew a chance to win it in the ninth inning and I was wanting to get back up there and give it another shot. I knew I hit it good. The emotions got ahold of me, but that whole trip around the bases was awesome.”