Max Pentecost doubled with the bases loaded, driving in three runs and vaulting the Owls to a 5-4 win over A-Sun tournament host Stetson on Friday.
Third-seeded Kennesaw State (33-24) will face fourth-seeded Florida Gulf Coast today at 1 p.m. If the Owls can beat the Eagles, they would then face top-seeded Belmont — which Kennesaw State beat Thursday — in a winner-take-all conference title game.
Today’s final tournament games will be broadcast online at ESPN3.com
Sixth-seeded Stetson (35-23) dominated early Friday, taking a 4-1 lead after four innings, including a stretch of four consecutive hits and two runs in the first.
From the fifth inning on, though, the Kennesaw State bullpen dominated the Hatters’ offense. After relieving starter Kevin McCoy to begin the fifth, Justin McCalvin (3-1) allowed Stetson just six baserunners in four innings, none of whom scored.
McCalvin’s strong game out of the bullpen set up the Owls’ offense for their rally in the bottom of the eighth.
Peyton Hart led off with a single, and Andy Almonte walked. Joe Dye (0-1) then came on in relief of Austin Perez, but he didn’t fare any better, walking Ronnie Freeman to load the bases with no outs.
Andy Chriscaden became the fourth straight batter to reach, scoring Hart with a single. Pentecost then cleared the bases with his double on a 2-2 count, scoring Almonte, Freeman and Chriscaden.
Pentecost later made it to third on a sacrifice bunt, but he couldn’t score before relievers Cameron Griffin and Jake Boyd — the fourth and fifth pitchers used by Stetson in the must-win game — retired the side.
Kennesaw State turned to Zak Griffith to close the game in the ninth, and the senior standout from North Cobb Christian pitched a 1-2-3 inning to record his second save in as many days.
Almonte, who drove in Aaron Dobbs with a third-inning single, had two hits, as did Hart and Pentecost.
Stetson starter Lindsey Caughel kept the Owls largely in check, scattering seven hits, two walks and allowing one run though 5 2/3 innings.
Kennesaw State’s Kevin McCoy allowed all four of the Hatters’ runs, giving up nine hits and striking out none in four innings.