Delta St. sweeps No. 19 Harding
Statesmen take over first place in GSC West Division
SEARCY, Ark. – Delta State (28-15, 13-4 GSC) used solid pitching and timely hitting on Friday to claim a sweep of the No. 19 Harding (38-7, 12-5 GSC) and take over sole possession of first place in the Gulf South Conference West Division. The Statesmen took the opener 6-1 and were victorious by a 2-1 score in the nightcap. The two game sweep also gives Delta State the series win and clinched a berth in the upcoming GSC Tournament on May 5-10 in Millington, Tenn.
Delta State jumped out to a 3-0 in the top of the first off Harding starter Lucas Waddell. Kellen Bozeman, Brent Kakwitch and Cameron Robulack all delivered RBIs for the Statesmen.
Jason Nappi's RBI ground out in the bottom of the first cut the DSU lead to 3-1.
Bozeman's second RBI single off Waddell, scoring Anthony Even from third, got the run back for the Statesmen in the second. Even reached on an error to leadoff the inning and a failed pickoff at first allowed the speedster to advance to third.
In the fifth, the Statesmen clawed out another run on Robulack's second RBI single of the game. Michael Vinson and Kakwitch connected on back-to-back singles followed by Robulack's blast to center.
Robulack was again the catalyst for the Statesmen in the seventh, as the junior designated hitter roped an RBI single down the right field line, scoring Kakwitch from second for a 6-1 lead.
Branstetter (7-1) made the lead stand up as the Statesmen closed out the Bisons for the 6-1 win. The sophomore from Pensacola, Fla., went the distance allowing just one run on four hits to claim his sixth consecutive decision.
Waddell (7-2) threw seven innings while giving up six runs on 10 hits with a pair of walks and five strikeouts. Cameron Walker (1.0), Alex Smith (0.1) and Daniel Niehls (0.2) also worked in relief.
The Statesmen finished with six runs on 11 hits with a pair of errors while the Bisons scored one run on four hits with three errors.
Robulack paced the Statesmen at the plate with a 3 for 5 day, including three RBIs. Bozeman finished 2 for 4 with a pair of RBIs as well.
Niemann and Vinson joined the cast on contributors finishing with two hits each.
In game two, Vinson put the green-and-white up 1-0 with an RBI single to center, scoring McGinnis, who reached on an infield single, from second.
After three scoreless innings, the Bisons finally got DSU starter Aaron Newcomb in the fifth as Paul Anzalone slapped an RBI single to center to tie the game at 1-1.
Neither team could scratch out a run in regulation as the first seven innings ended at 1-1.
In the top of the eighth, the Statesmen scored the go-ahead run on a throwing error by Bisons shortstop Charles Bradley that allowed Craig Herrmann to score what proved to be the winning run.
In Harding's half of the eighth, the Bisons managed to get two runners on with one out before Newcomb bristled and retired the HU rally by striking out Erin McCarver to end the game.
Newcomb (6-6) claimed the complete game win after allowing one run on six hits with a walk and six strikeouts.
Brodie Brumley (3-4) was saddled with the loss after working 8.0 innings and giving up two runs on five hits with four strikeouts.