Branstetter

CLEVELAND - No. 1 Delta State opened up Gulf South Conference play with a 5-2 victory against No. 5 West Florida. The top-ranked Statesmen (12-1, 1-0 GSC) used a four-run seventh inning and a complete game from senior pitcher Josh Branstetter to propel them past the Argos (9-2, 0-1 GSC) on Saturday at Ferriss Field.

Branstetter improved to 3-0 (0.62 ERA) on the season with the win, striking out seven while giving up only one earned run.

Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh, Ben Kingsley doubled down the left-field line to lead off the inning for the Statesmen and start the rally. Michael Vinson then singled up the middle to score Kingsley from second.

After stealing second and advancing to third on a ground out from Brent Langston, Vinson scored on a single up the middle from Carlos Leal.

Kasey Hinton then singled to center field and Josh Crowdus followed with a bunt to load the bases for Delta State. Tyler Aldridge capped off the inning with a two-run single up the middle scoring Leal and Hinton and giving the Statesmen a 5-2 lead.

West Florida took the lead in the fifth inning, scoring two runs on a single by Drew Prichard.

The Statesmen cut the lead in half in the bottom of the sixth inning with a run. Hinton started the inning off with a double and later scored from third on an RBI ground out from Aldridge.