The Delaware State baseball team’s MEAC championship hopes are still alive after an 11-10 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore in a nail-biting elimination game at Marty L. Miller Friday evening. The Hornets survived a four-run ninth inning by the Hawks, but closer C.J. Loper struck out Brian Cordell with potential tying run at third base to end the game.
With the win, the top-seeded Hornets advance to Saturday’s championship round to face No. 2 seed Coppin State, which handed Delaware State a 15-5 second round loss earlier Friday. The Hornets need to win two against the Eagles on Saturday to claim their second MEAC Tournament championship.
Delaware State won its lone title in 1989.
The Hornets collected 15 hits in the game. Alan Alonso and Alec Rodrigues were the offensive stars in the contest. Alonso was 2 for 4 with a home run and three runs batted in and three runs scored , while Rodrigues was also 2 for 4 with a home run and two RBI.
The Hawks opened the scoring with an unearned run in the top of the first inning. Leadoff batter Andrew Revels reached base on an error, stole second, and later scored on a ground out by Dillon Oxyer.
Delaware State responded with two runs in the bottom of the first to take the lead. Rivera walked to lead off the inning, stole second, and scored on a single through the right side by Paige to tie the game at 1-1. Paige crossed the plate on a two-out double by Rodrigues to give the Hornets a 2-1 lead.
Maryland-Eastern Shore regained the lead with two runs in the top of the third. Brian Cordell was hit by a pitch with one out and dashed home when Oxyer followed with a fly ball that Delaware State centerfielder Mike Worthington lost in the twilight sky, resulting in a triple. Oxyer scored on a throwing error by the Hornets on the play to put the Hawks back in front 3-2.
Delaware State wasted little time pulling back in front.
Krew Bouldin walked to lead off the third and moved to second when Daniels followed with a single up the middle. Alonso then stepped to the plate and crushed a pitch over the fence in right field for a three-run homer, scoring Bouldin and Daniels on the play, to give the Hornets a 5-3 lead. The home run was Alonso’s sixth of the season and first of the tournament for the Hornets.
Maryland-Eastern Shore answered with two runs in the top of the fourth to tie the score. The first run came home on a wild pitch and the second on a sacrifice fly to even the score at 5-5. The score was still tied when the Hornets came to bat in the
bottom of the fifth. Alonso walked to lead off the inning and Rodrigues followed with a shot over the right field fence to put Delaware State back in front 7-5. The homer was the third of the season and career for the freshman Rodrigues, each against Maryland-Eastern Shore.
The Hornets tacked on two more runs in the fifth on a double by Rivera and a single by Paige to open up a 9-5 advantage.
Catcher Robert Trujillo doubled in two runs in the sixth to stretch Delaware State’s lead to 11-6.