Week four of the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) baseball season is in the books, so we now can take a look back on the week’s action.
After winning game one to open its scheduled four game series by a score of 7-3 on Friday, North Carolina Central University swept a doubleheader from the same Niagara University ballclub on Saturday. In an offensive display of 28 hits in the doubleheader, the Eagles won game one 13-10, then finished off Niagra in game two 10-6. In game one, NCCU rallied from six-runs down in the fourth inning to even the score. Niagara regained the lead before North Carolina Central answered back taking the lead for good, highlighted by senior first baseman Christian Triplett’s RBI double. In game two, once again, Niagara opened the game scoring first by plating two runs in the first inning Then NCCU went on a hitting attack taking a 10-2 lead. Starting pitcher Christian Gonnelli cruised for five scoreless innings before allowing three runs. Stars of the game were Christian Triplett with a two-run home run, senior second baseman Trevor Theissen and junior shortstop Thomas Prospero, who each had three hits. Right fielder Zachary Marszal and designated hitter John Ortiz had two hits each. NCCU was three outs away from a four-game sweep over Niagara, but squandered four runs in the top of the ninth inning. Niagara got out of a bases-loaded jam to seal the victory. North Carolina Central next plays a non-conference, mid-week game against Appalachian State University and a conference match up against Norfolk State University, then a big non-conference weekend series versus New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Voorhees College also had a good week scoring 45 runs, while pitching allowed just 15 runs in the series taking a three-game sweep from The College of Faith. The Tigers won game one of its scheduled doubleheader 20-1, then defeated the Warriors by the score of 14-4. Voorhees clinched the final game of the series in a thrilling slugfest pulling out an 11-10 win. Besides pitching, Voorhees played solid defensively throughout the entire series. They will need pitching to continue with a mid-week doubleheader against St. Andrews University and Benedict College.
Jackson State University was victorious in its home weekend series against Florida A&M University on Sunday. After trailing early in the game 9-3, the Tigers rallied with a 10 run fifth inning to take the lead, then added three more runs in the bottom of the seventh to defeat FAMU 16-9 and take the series, two games to one. Jackson State (4-3) was led by Jesus Santana’s three runs, three hits and three runs batted in. JSU has scheduled a mid-week conference game against Southern University and a three-game weekend series against conference foe Alabama State University.
On the down side, Black College Nines’ HBCU preseason No. 8 pick, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, has lost seven straight games, six of seven being home games with North Dakota State University and Southeast Missouri State University. The Golden Lions’ opponents have scored 61 runs, while scoring a mere 18 runs. It won’t get any easier as UAPB (0-7) has scheduled one mid-week game against a very good University of Missouri ball club and a weekend series at Kansas State University.
Albany State University has HBCU baseball’s current longest losing streak at 16. This past weekend, losses came against Florida Institute of Technology 15-1, 6-0, and 10-2. Albany faces mid-week opponent Flagler College, then NCAA Division II top-ranked University of Tampa for a weekend series.
Other teams hoping to improve in the win column include St. Augustine’s University (1-11), Delaware State University (0-8), and Lincoln University of Missouri (1-10). St. Augustine’s has a weekend series against Claflin University, Delaware State faces Navy and Lincoln MO) visit Emporia State University.