Black College Nines takes a look at all the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) “small school” division baseball programs as we summarize each team’s 2019 year-to-date mid-season performances heading into the final stretch of the season with regular season standings, key matchups and seedings into conference tournament on the line.
The midway point of the small school baseball season has had many ups and downs with surprises, so in lieu of our annual report, we’re stepping back to look at the big picture. We present our midseason top storylines of the first half.
Albany State University
2019 Mid-Season Record: 19-13
Albany State is starting to live up to expectations. The defending HBCU Baseball small school champs are playing well after a slow start at the beginning of the season. A very tough non-conference schedule appears to be working in their favor.
2019 Mid-Season Record: 9-9
Inclement weather at the start of the season forced cancellation of games. Benedict is off to a slow start which has delayed their customary base stealing antics, “the greatest show on dirt.” which produces runs. The hitting is there, but pitching must improve to stay in ball games in the second half of the season.
Bluefield State College
2019 Mid-Season Record: 10-13
Big Blue pitching is keeping them in ball games as of late. Plus the defense is cutting down on fielding miscues. Looking for a third straight USCAA World Series appearance.
2019 Mid-Season Record: 17-10
The Panthers started the season with live bats and pitching from a surprising senior class. After leaving the CIAA Conference and becoming an independent (for baseball), head coach James Randall has this team ready to make a push for the NCAA Division II Regional if starting pitching and relievers can become consistent.
Edward Waters College
2019 Mid-Season Record: 18-27
Big things were expected in 2019. Starting pitching has been decent. The 27 losses are a direct results of relief pitching letting the starters down in games they should have won. First losing season in six years.
Florida Memorial University
2019 Mid-Season Record: 20-16
Playing well at times this season, but with inconsistency. Considered as a contender in a loaded SUN Conference. If they make the conference tournament the Lions have depth in their lineup, but they must have arm presence to finish the season.
Harris-Stowe State University
2019 Mid-Season Record: 16-18
2019 was considered as a rebuilding year for the program, but at times this season they have been good at the plate and starting pitching. The arms in the bullpen are suspect. At 9-7 in the American Midwest Conference (AMC), must win remain conference games to make the tournament field.
2019 Mid-Season Record: 8-27
Another rebuilding year. Lacking defense and pitching. Biggest weakness…short on power at the plate, short on solid pitching. Shocked the nation this past March 29, beating No. 9 ranked Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) foe Louisiana State – Shreveport.
Jarvis Christian University
2019 Mid-Season Record: 25-13
Head coach Michael Holochuck has built the program with pitching challenging the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC). Pitching has led to some tough wins and timely hitting pushing runners across the plate. They appear ready to make a run for the conference regular season title being two games back of first in the conference standings. Finishing first in the regular season gets Jarvis Christian an automatic bid to the NCAA National Tournament.
Kentucky State University
2019 Mid-Season Record: 16-12
Timely hitting and pitching led to victories and being ranked the No. 1 team in HBCU baseball small school Top 10. Definitely think this team can playing for an SIAC conference title, but injuries of late have caused the Thorobreds to lose five straight games.
2019 Mid-Season Record: 11-16
The Dragons are starting to play some good ball under first year head coach Patrick
Barbour. Both starters and relievers picking each other up and not allowing inherited runners to score, plus they are manufacturing runs.
2019 Mid-Season Record: 1-12
First year head coach Patrick Newman has a rebuilding year for LeMoyne-Owen baseball program. Costly errors and walks by the Magicians have allowed runs to score. Lack of hitting is a main contributor to overall record.
Lincoln University, PA
2019 Mid-Season Record: 1-20
The Lincoln University Lions lack a combination of hitting and pitching which is plaguing their 2019 season.
2019 Mid-Season Record: 16-16
The Golden Bears club was projected to have a deep pitching staff to combat a tough non-conference schedule. Pitching keeps Miles in ball games, but it has also let this ball club down. Destined for a stretch run to finish the regular season.
2019 Mid-Season Record: 5-20
For the second year straight, Morehouse was considered to make a serious run in the SIAC conference. They started off hot winning ball games, but have fizzled big time. Problems are hitting and pushing runners across the plate. Arms on the hill are under-performing in conference games.
2019 Mid-Season Record: 1-9
2019 season started in March. Joshua Hampton is the individual batting leader (.478) in the NAIA statistical top 5 and No. 11 in slugging percentage… he’s the lone bright spot.
2019 Mid-Season Record: 5-20
More was expected under head coach Melvin Marshall, but lacking both pitching and hitting is a major concern.
2019 Mid-Season Record: 4-22
The Bearcats are lacking power at the plate, defense and pitching. Short on hitting fielding, and pitching.
2019 Mid-Season Record: 10-4
Selma has been consistent advancing runners into scoring position. Good starting pitching, hitting, and playing errorless ball. Besides the customary inclement weather canceling games, they are heading to a ninth post season appearance.
2019 Mid-Season Record: 8-21
The Tigers have a tough non-conference schedule verses top ranked NAIA teams and and first year playing in the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) for second year head coach Terrance Whittle. Rough start since the beginning of the season.
2019 Mid-Season Record: 19-17
Slow start to the beginning of the season but Talladega is playing better baseball do in fact to a tough non-conference schedule. The Tornados have beaten eight top 25 NAIA ranked teams they’ve faced including the current No. 2 Faulkner. On the mound, pitching made strides as the season progresses. Those ranked games will aid in its run towards a third NAIA national tournament. Still have twelve remaining games against ranked teams.
2019 Mid-Season Record: 13-25
Coming into the season, the Steers hoped to make an impact with starting pitching. The mound staff has made strides in the early part of the season but have not maintained a consistency do to injuries. They’ve won some games this season against ranked teams which is a positive.
2019 Mid-Season Record: 5-22
The Bulldogs are not able to plate runners in close games with men on base, but they are getting through innings defensively.
2019 Mid-Season Record: 10-17
The Golden Tigers are playing with consistency in SIAC conference games (7-4), starting pitching has come around leading to some victories for Tuskegee.
Virginia State University
2019 Mid-Season Record: 11-12
What has gone right with a talented Trojans baseball team? Hitting, pitching, and playing errorless ball. What has gone wrong with a talented Trojans baseball team? Lack of consistant hitting, pitching, and errorless ball.
2019 Mid-Season Record: 7-12
Former Claflin University ballplayer John Gauntlett, who was helping former head coach Justin Thomas in fall ball as an assistant, was named head baseball coach to start the 2019 season after Thomas left the program this past Thanksgiving. At 7-12, Gauntlett is have a decent first half considering he took over this past January.
West Virginia State University
2019 Mid-Season Record: 12-14
The Yellow Jackets are getting stronger within the conference after losing 10 of their first 11 non conference ball games. The number one and two spots in the rotation are coming along with relief from the bullpen.
2019 Mid-Season Record: 16-18
Started the season off beating some ranked teams but lately lost some tough games. Weakness is not being able to plate runners in close games with men on base but they are getting through innings offensively and defensively.
Winston-Salem State University
2019 Mid-Season Record: 25-12
Winston Salem State athletic department will drop its baseball program at the end of this season and intends to pursue golf in place of baseball. This could be a rallying cry as the Rams have played consistent from the first game. Pitching has led to some tough wins. They appear ready to make a run and return to the regionals.