NEW ORLEANS – The Alabama State baseball team completed an unprecedented run by winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship with a 7-5 win over defending champion Texas Southern.
Tournament MVP Dillon Cooper capped off a week to remember by going 4-for-5 with two runs scored and four RBI. He hit .714 for the week (10-14), with five doubles, three home runs, nine runs scored and 14 RBI.
Tyler Howe, Yamil Pagan, and Eriq White joined Cooper on the All-Tournament team, as the Hornets (38-15) set a school record for wins while going 28-0 against conference teams this season.
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After Diandre Amion and Carlos Ocasio led off the third inning with singles, Cooper's three-run homer to right field on the first pitch gave the Hornets a 3-0 lead.
Alabama State extended the lead in the fifth. Ocasio reached based on an error, Cooper hit a bunt single, and Chris Biocic walked to load the bases. A RBI groundout by Ray Hernandez scored Ocasio, and Hunter Allen's double to left field scored Cooper for a 5-0 Hornet lead.
After Texas Southern (24-26) got on the board in the sixth, the Hornets added a run in the home half of the inning. Pagan walked with one out, and advanced to second on a passed ball. After a groundout and Ocasio was hit by a pitch, Cooper nearly homered again, drilling a 1-2 pitch off the top of the right center field wall to score Pagan for a 6-2 ASU lead. The Hornets added a run on a throwing error in the seventh for a 7-2 lead.
Angel Alicea (3-0) got the win, throwing six innings, allowing only four hits and two runs, walking six but striking out a career-high nine batters.
Tyler Howe pitched 1 2/3 innings, allowing three hits and one run, striking out three. Joseph Camacho came in to get the final out in the eighth and worked out of trouble in the ninth to get the save.
The Hornets will learn their NCAA Tournament destination during the selection show on Monday, May 30 at 11 a.m. on ESPNU.