Alabama State Hornets Complete Sweep of Mississippi Valley State

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ITTA BENA, Miss. – The Alabama State University baseball team completed a three-game Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) sweep as the Hornets took two from Mississippi Valley State, 7-6 in 10 innings and 7-5 in seven innings on Sunday afternoon at Magnolia Field.

In the opener, Mississippi Valley State raced out to a 2-0 lead after a two-run homer by Arrington Smith in the bottom of the first inning.

Alabama State (10-15 overall, 7-2 SWAC) got a run back in the top of the second as Joseph Estrada, who went 2-for-3, reached on an infield hit. He stole second and advanced to third on an error. Joshua Dunson singled to center to plate Estrada and cut the Delta Devils lead to 2-1.

Mississippi Valley State (4-16, 3-9) loaded the bases in the fifth and came away with four runs on one hit and took advantage of an Alabama State error to take a 6-1 lead.

The Hornets quickly rallied and plated four runs and three hits to cut the deficit to 6-5 in the sixth inning.

Hunter Allen singled to left and advanced to second on an Estrada walk. Dunson reached on a sacrifice fielder’s choice bunt to load the bases. Diandre Amion, who went 3-for-6, followed with an infield hit to plate Allen and Carlos Ocasio doubled to the wall in left center to score Estrada and Dunson. Cage Cox grounded out to the shortstop to plate Amion. ASU had a chance to plate Ocasio from third, but Gustavo Rios and Ray Hernandez struck out to end the Hornet threat.

Alabama State tied the game at 6 in the seventh on a solo blast to right by Estrada.

Mississippi Valley State loaded the bases in the bottom half of the inning, but came away empty handed to keep the game tied at 6.

With the score tied at 6 in the top of the sixth and two outs, Cox, who went 2-for-5, crushed the first pitch he saw off Delta Devils reliever Jackson Webb deep over the right field wall to give the Hornets a 7-6 lead.

Burke Echelmeier was tagged with four runs (two earned) on five hits with five walks and two strikeouts in 4.0 innings pitched. Austin Bizzle and Chase Laney (1-1) pitched in relief. Laney picked the win with two strikeouts in 1.2 innings.

Zac Uecker pitched 5.0 innings and surrendered just one run on four hits with nine strikeouts and four walks. Connor Sheppeard and Jackson Webb (0-2) worked in relief.

In the second game, Alabama State broke the 0-0 tie in the top of the second inning as Rios walked and Hernandez was hit by a pitch to begin the frame. Rios advanced to third on an error and scored on a base hit to center by Phillips.

The Hornets added to the lead in the third.

Ocasio reached on a single to left and stole second. After a Cox ground out to the pitcher advanced Ocasio to third, Rios flied out to left for the sacrifice fly as Ocasio scored to give Alabama State a 2-0 advantage.

Mississippi Valley State answered back in the bottom of the third as the Delta Devils scored two runs on two hits and took advantage of three Alabama State errors to tie the game at 2.

The Hornets grabbed a 3-2 lead in the fourth as Chris Biocic tripled to left center and scored on an Estrada single to center.

The Delta Devils plated two runs in the bottom of the frame on a two-run homer by Kevin Gonzalez to take a 4-3 lead.

The Hornets tied the game at 4 in the top of the fifth as Cox led off the frame with an infield hit and advanced to second on an error. A Rios fly out to center moved Cox to third and with two down, Phillips drew a walk to put runners on the corners. Biocic singled through the left side to score Cox and tie the game.

But again back came Mississippi Valley State as Arrington Smith belted a homer to right center to give the Delta Devils their second lead of the day at 5-4.

Alabama State drew even once again as the Hornets tied the game in the sixth.

Dunson drew a leadoff walk to begin the inning, but was out at second on Amion’s fielder’s choice. Ocasio followed with a double down the line in right and Amion scored on Cox’s sacrifice fly to left, tying the game at 5.

The Hornets, who have won 14 straight against Mississippi Valley State and 30 out of its last 31 games, rallied with two outs in the top of the seventh to break the 5-5 tie.

Biocic started the rally with a base hit up the middle and Estrada followed with a single through the left side. Dunson reached on an infield hit to load the bases and Amion ripped a single to center to plate Biocic and Estrada, giving Alabama State a 7-5 lead.

Terrell McCall started on the hill for the Hornets and pitched 4.0 innings in the no decision. He gave up four runs (two earned) on three hits with six strikeouts and two walks. Darren Kelly and Patrick Coffin worked in relief. Coffin (3-0) picked up the win in 2.0 innings and fanned three.

Arrington Smith went 5.0 innings for the Delta Devils. He gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Aaron Barkley (0-2) took the loss in relief as he pitched 2.0 innings and gave up three runs on five hits.

Alabama State will step out of a conference play with a mid-week game on Wednesday in Tallahassee, Fla., against Florida A&M.

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