CARY, N.C. — Michael Vinson went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, including the game winner, as Delta State defeated St. Mary’s (Texas) 4-1 in its opening game of the NCAA Division II Championship on Sunday at Coleman Field on the USA Baseball National Training Complex.
In a game that featured swings in momentum, the Rattlers took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third as Mario Maldonado scored on a perfectly executed squeeze play by Derek Moczygemba. Moczygemba’s sacrifice bunt trickled away from the plate giving Maldonado, who doubled to open the inning and advanced to third on a groundout, enough room to cross the plate.
The Statesmen battled back in the fourth, as Michael Vinson’s RBI single to center scored Ben Kingsley — who singled and swiped second — to tie the game at 1-1.
The fifth inning and the top of the sixth went quickly before Mother Nature reared her head in the bottom of the sixth, causing an hour-long rain delay.
The Statesmen seemed to have a little more energy and drive coming out of the delay. DSU got a leadoff single by Tyler Aldridge in the seventh, but couldn’t scratch anything across.
The hour rain delay had affected Statesmen starter Josh Branstetter’s ability to close out the contest and DSU head coach Mike Kinnison made the decision to pull him for Aaron Newcomb after leadoff infield single in the bottom of the seventh by Tyler Migl. Newcomb quickly sat down the Rattlers’ in order to preserve the 1-1 tie.
Tyler Aldridge went 3-for-4 with an RBI triple in DSU’s win over the Rattlers.
DSU put the game away in the top of the eighth inning after exploding for three runs off St. Mary’s starter Rene Solis and closer Jonathon Perez. Jordan Chovanec and Sam Kidd led off the frame with back-to-back bunt singles. After Kingsley sacrificed them over to second and third, coach Charle Migle pulled Solis for Perez who struck out Jon Carnahan swinging.
Down 0-2 in the count with two outs, Vinson crushed the 0-2 breaking ball off the wall in right, scoring Chovanec and Kidd to give the Statesmen the 3-1 lead. Aldridge followed with a triple off the left-center wall to score Vinson and put DSU up 4-1.
Newcomb made it stand up, retiring the last six Rattlers in order to close out the win. DSU finished the contest with four runs on 11 hits, while SMU had one run on four hits, including only one after the fifth.
Branstetter worked 6.0 innings, allowing one run on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts, but did not factor in the decision. Newcomb (11-3) earned the win after tossing 3.0 perfect innings with two strikeouts.
Solis (13-3) took the loss after tossing 7.1 innings with three runs on nine hits and four strikeouts. Perez worked 1.1 innings allowing one run on two hits and Kyle Bumpos worked 0.1 innings for SMU.
DSU’s Tyler Aldridge had three hits in four plate appearances, including the RBI triple. Vinson was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and Chovanec closed the game 2-for-4 with a run scored and two stolen bases.
Brandon Bates, Tyler Migl, Josh McElroy and Mario Maldonado all recorded one hit each for the Rattlers.