Alabama State To Open Season Against Two Ranked Opponents





Alabama State Sports Information


MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama State University baseball team opens its season this weekend as the Hornets compete against two ranked opponents at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Fla.

Alabama State will face off against No. 6 Louisville to begin the season on Friday, Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. The Hornets take on Ball State at 1 p.m. on Saturday, and Alabama State concludes the weekend against No. 25 Maryland at 9 a.m. on Sunday.

The Hornets, the defending Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) champions, went 38-17 overall and were 6-1 in neutral site games last season. Alabama State, which went a historic 24-0 in conference play a year ago, returns eight position players, including SWAC Player of the Year Carlos Ocasio and SWAC Freshman of the Year Eriq White.

Ocasio, a member of the 2017 SWAC All-Preseason team, led the Hornets in multi-hit games (23) and multi-RBI games (19). He batted .330 and slugged .593 in 209 at-bats. Ocasio finished with 69 hits, 62 runs scored, 60 RBI, 13 home runs 12 doubles and two triples.

White, a 2017 SWAC All-Preseason team selection, played in 54 games last season and recorded 66 hits, 47 runs scored, 41 RBI, 13 doubles and three home runs. He batted .346 in 191 at-bats.

Also returning are 2017 SWAC All-Preseason members is Chris Biocic, Ray Hernandez, Yamil Pagan, Hunter Allen and Diandre Amion.

On the mound Alabama State returns five pitchers, including starter Tyler Howe.

Howe posted a 10-3 and 1.69 ERA last season. He ranked first in the conference and was eighth nationally in earned run average. The 2017 SWAC All-Preseason First Team selection worked 80.0 innings with a team-high 82 strikeouts.

Brandon Caples and Terrell McCall return to bolster the starting rotation. Austin Bizzle, a 2017 SWAC All-Preseason Second Team member, returns to anchor relief duty.

After the three-game series in Florida, the Hornets return to action on Tuesday, Feb. 21 in Birmingham, Ala., against UAB. Alabama State’s home opener is the following day, Feb. 22, at 6 p.m. against UAB at Wheeler-Watkins Baseball Complex.

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