MEAC And SWAC Pitchers To Watch With Conference Crowns On The Line

This weekend could see some changes in the hunt for first place in the MEAC for both divisions. Coppin State, which has held first for the last six weeks, is tied with Norfolk State. The Eagles’ have little margin for error to finish at the top if they want to meet pre-season expectation.

The same can be said of North Carolina A&T in the Southern Division. The Aggies are 9-5 and have a tough remaining conference schedule (Bethune Cookman and Florida A&M). NC A&T needs to at least go 5-1 in those games to ward off FAMU10-8, North Carolina Central 9-8, and Bethune Cookman 8-10 to finish atop of the division. It won’t be easy but they need to start playing well.

It appears Norfolk State could overtake Coppin for MEAC supremacy in 2019, while the South is anybody’s guess.

MEAC pitchers who will make a difference down the stretch of the season:

Devin Rivera Ozuna, RHP, Coppin State: Rivera Ozuna was dominant in the Eagles’ 5-0 victory against MEAC foe Norfolk State to avoid being swept and tie with the Spartans for first in the Northern Division. The redshirt junior is 7-1 on the year and 5-0 in the MEAC, tossing 6.1 innings of scoreless ball, allowing just four hits while striking out a career-high 11 versus Norfolk State. Rivera Ozuna’s stats on the season in nine appearances include a 2.62 earned run avarage with 50 strikeouts in 55.0 innings pitched.  Opponents are batting .218 against him.

Chase Anderson, RHP, Norfolk State: Anderson, who has a 5-2 record, in his last outing threw seven shutout innings to defeat Coppin State and tie for first place in the division in game one of a doubleheader sweep. Anderson struck out eight to pick up his 23rd career win, one shy of tying the school record. The senior has a 4.83 earned run average in ten appearances with 73 strikeouts in 63.1 innings on the season.

Evan Gates, RHP, North Carolina A&T: Gates in his last start in 5.2 innings allowed one earned run but relief pitching in that game squandered four runs in a 5-1 lost to Liberty. Over the last two weeks, Gates has held opponents to just two earned runs on six hits in 10.2 innings while striking out 10. In the game against Southern Division foe Florida A&M, Gates struck out 9 Rattlers in 5.1 innings helping to put the Aggies in better position for a MEAC Conference repeat. He improved to 4-1 in 8 starts with a 3.86 ERA in 63.2 innings pitched and a team leading 47 strikeouts.

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Standings:

Northern

Team Record Win % GB Overall Overall % Streak
Coppin State 12-6 0.667 21-17 0.553 L1
Norfolk State 12-6 0.667 17-20 0.459 W1
Delaware State 8-10 0.444 4 13-21 0.382 W1
Maryland Eastern Shore 4-14 0.222 8 10-34 0.227 L2

Southern

Team Record Win % GB Overall Overall % Streak
North Carolina A&T 9-5 0.643 21-18 0.538 W2
Florida A&M 10-8 0.556 1 18-25 0.419 L2
North Carolina Central 9-8 0.529 1.5 18-22 0.450 L3
Bethune Cookman 8-10 0.444 3 15-28 0.349 L1
Savannah State 5-10 0.333 4.5 7-21-1 0.241 L7

In the SWAC, let’s be clear, both Southern (14-3) and Grambling State (14-7) could decide first place this weekend when they square off in a three-game series starting Friday, April 26th. The winner of the series most likely takes first place in the SWAC West.

Back in March, Alabama State looked like they may run away with the SWAC East. But Jackson State is on a 14 game winning streak and has put a major dent in ASU’s quest to finish first.  JSU ranks in the top in the conference in runs scored which could lead to a conference title and a seed in the SWAC Championships. First place is on the line, both teams have a three games series this weekend April 26-28.

If Southern finishes at the top, it’s a far cry from the 6 conference wins of last season.

SWAC pitchers who will make a difference down the stretch of the season:

Bryan Delgado, LHP, Grambling State: Delgado the junior struck out eight, walked two and scattered three hits to lead the Tiger to a win over SWAC rival Arkansas Pine Bluff on April 20th. He improved to 5-2 with a 3.00 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 66.0 innings on the hill.

Nikelle Galatas, RHP, Jackson State: Facing SWAC opponent Mississippi Valley State, Galatas struck out 8 batters in eight innings to lead the Tiger to a 12-2 victory. The sophomore held MVSU to seven hits and two earned runs. He is now 6-3 with a 3.67 earned run average and 67 strikeouts in 81.0 innings helping JSU which is on a 14 game winning streak.

Jeremy Rivera, LHP, Alabama State: In his last start facing in-state conference rival Alabama A&M, Rivera threw a complete game on April 19, allowing seven hits and two earned runs while striking out nine batters. The freshman is now 6-2, has a 3.86 earned run average with 49 strikeouts in 51. innings pitched.

Southwestern Athletic Conference Standings:

Eastern

Team Record Win % GB Overall Overall % Streak
Alabama State 16-4 0.800 23-19 0.548 W1
Jackson State 12-6 0.667 3 26-18 0.591 W14
Alabama A&M 9-11 0.450 7 13-31 0.295 L2
Mississippi Valley State 5-12 0.294 9.5 7-22 0.241 W1
Alcorn State 4-13 0.235 10.5 11-25 0.306 L1

Western

Team Record Win % GB Overall Overall % Streak
Southern 14-3 0.824 24-17 0.585 L1
Grambling State 14-7 0.667 2 21-19 0.525 W6
Prairie View A&M 8-9 0.471 6 16-26 0.381 W2
Texas Southern 8-10 0.444 6.5 12-29 0.293 L2
Arkansas Pine Bluff 2-17 0.105 13 6-32 0.158 L10

 

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