HBCU 2017 Large School Mid-Season Baseball Report

Black College Nines takes a look at all the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) “large school” division baseball programs as we summarize each team’s 2017 year-to-date mid-season performance.

Alabama A&M University

2017 Mid-Season Record: 8-20

The Bulldogs coming into the 2017 season added pitching to its roster which has aided in a good rotation at times thus far into the season. But what has slowed the team, struggling to produce runs across the plate. They can build momentum for a SWAC Conference run once starters shut down opponent run production.

Alabama State University

2017 Mid-Season Record: 10-15

The Hornets are just starting to jell as a team under new head coach Jose Vazquez as they are now playing as one of the dominant teams in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). The pitching and hitting will again lead ASU to contend in the conference. Offensively, Ray Hernandez  and Gustavo Rios bats are coming alive and driving in runs.

Alcorn State University

2017 Mid-Season Record: 7-15

Good ballclub in spite of its 7-15 record, which includes a five game losing streak where the pitching has allowed unearned runs to cross the plate. Alcorn can win the one run games, but middle relief needs to improve.

University of Arkansas Pine at Bluff

2017 Mid-Season Record: 6-16

The Golden Lions must improve on its current team 7.30 earned run average. Pitching is suspect, but was supposed to have an immediate impact after working hard during fall ball. Unfortunately, the pitching staff has become a liability. After its non-conference schedule, competition from within the SWAC should lead to some wins.

Bethune-Cookman University

2017 Mid-Season Record: 17-8

The Wildcats are swinging the bats well. Jameel Edney already has 22 runs batted in. As expected they have shown mound presence from starters and middle relievers, especially from true freshmen RHP Anthony Maldonado with a 2.70 earned run average, 2-0 and tied for second on the team with 25 strikeouts. Ivan Coutinho has a 0.55 ERA, 1-1, 5 saves in 11 relief appearances. Tough non-conference schedule with solid wins against the nation’s top Division I RPI baseball programs. Receiving votes in National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) top 30 poll.

Coppin State University

2017 Mid-Season Record: 5-13

The Eagles have shown a lack of solid pitching in the early part of this season. When it comes to scoring runs, Coppin State is inconsistent leaving runners stranded in scoring position. Expect to make up ground in the MEAC Conference play the more games they play.

Delaware State University

2017 Mid-Season Record: 7-12

The Hornets have lost three-games by one run, but they have yet to play their best baseball. Pitching staff needs to improve and help starter Garrett Lawson with his 3.30 ERA, 2-2 with 20 strikeouts who leads the team on the mound. Getting men to plate runs with men in scoring position has been an overwhelming task in the early going this season.

Florida A&M University

2016 Mid-Season Record: 15-8

The Rattlers have a crop of stable hitters at the plate and good defense. In my opinion, pitching needs to step up a notch. Not getting instant contributions from the entire pitching rotation and middle relievers. What has helped FAMU? The Rattlers lead the nation in walk-off wins (6). They have slowed a bit since losing big bat Brian Davis to a season ending injury. Tough non-conference schedule, with solid wins against the nation’s top Division I RPI baseball programs. Receiving votes in National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) top 30 poll.

Grambling State University

2017 Mid-Season Record: 8-16

The Tigers are playing through a tough non-conference schedule (0-6). What awaits is competition from within the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). Grambling should make a serious conference run once they get through remaining non-conference games against No. 6 LSU and No. 20 Arkansas.

Jackson State University

2017 Mid-Season Record: 19-11

The Tigers will rely on  speed, athleticism and defense to continue its success. Pitching has been spotty, but good so far this early in the season. Needs to step up if they expect to challenge in the East Division. In my opinion as the season progresses, JSU, by season’s end should win the SWAC.

Mississippi Valley State University

2017 Mid-Season Record: 4-17

MVSU underperforming at all facets of the game. No mound or plate presence has contributed to losses.

North Carolina A&T University

2017 Mid-Season Record: 11-11

When N.C. A&T wins, they swing the bats well. They have plate consistency, getting men on base and scoring has not been an issue. But when they lose, pitching gives up a ton of runs and the bats go south. Not surprisingly, eleven wins is a good sign so far in 2017.

Norfolk State University

2017 Mid-Season Record: 9-13

The Spartans started the season winning their first three-games and have gone 6-13 since. Offensively, once NSU gets going, they have the makeup to win the conference outright. They have the arms to win the MEAC Northern Division if they can get over inconsistency in fielding, pitching and hitting.

North Carolina Central University

2017 Mid-Season Record: 13-12

NCCU needs quality starts from weekend arms and allow the bullpen to win games. But pitching is a main concern against tough non-conference opponents. The Eagles must not turn the conference into an arms race. As the season progresses, the Eagles will contend and should be at the top of the MEAC standings.

Prairie View A&M University

2017 Mid-Season Record: 10-21

Prairie View baseball can hit. They have men throughout the lineup who can get on and drive in runs in the Southwestern Athletic Conference . Where PVAM wants to improve is in the area of pitching. The Panthers have one of the highest earned run averages in the SWAC (7.03) which accounts for the 21 loses. Three of its ten wins are against NAIA programs.

Savannah State University

2017 Mid-Season Record: 9-16

Young ball club, but don’t count the Tigers out. Savannah State could be one hot streak away from being right in the thick of the MEAC conference race. Starters appear ready to step up. Tough non-conference schedule could aid in its run towards a MEAC Southern Division title.

Southern University

2016 Mid-Season Record: 4-16

The 2017 season is a rebuilding year for Southern baseball. The prospects of a good offense, coming into the season, had been suspect. Not winning the close ball games like they did in the past and not having a big run producer has contributed to 16 losses.

Texas Southern University

2017 Mid-Season Record: 10-13

Traditionally, the Tigers finish strong in conference play. They are another team that is one winning streak away from making a strong conference run. I definitely think this team’s very capable of playing for an SWAC conference title if pitching comes around before tournament time.

University of Maryland Eastern Shore

2017 Mid-Season Record: 3-18

UMES is struggling both at the plate and on the mound. The prospects of a good offense, coming into the season, has been suspect and underperforming. Not winning the ball games like they expected and not having a big run producer has contributed to some tough losses. Also, a lack of quality arms has led to some tough defeats. New head coach, in his first year, Charlie Goens is in a rebuilding year.

 

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