MILLINGTON, Tenn. – The long ball derailed the fifth-ranked University of West Alabama’s chances of advancing in the 2009 Gulf South Conference Baseball Tournament as UWA (37-14) falls 8-6 to the ninth-ranked Delta State on Wednesday afternoon at USA Stadium.
Trailing 5-1, DSU took its first lead of the game on a pair of three-run homeruns in the bottom of the fifth inning. Devin Goodwin logged the first of the two homers, sending a shot over the left field wall, scoring Billy Ray Todd and Stephen Oswald, pulling the Statesmen within one run of the Tigers. Four batters and two outs later, Anthony Palasini put the Green and White up with the second of the three-run, round trippers in the inning, as he scored Clay Sartain and Michael Niemann.
Dallas Rogers pulled UWA within one run in the top of the eighth, scoring as the Statesmen caught Rob Dahlberg trying to advance to second base. DSU answered in the home half of the inning by way a solo, leadoff homerun by Josh Gordon.
UWA plated the first runs of game scoring three in the top of the third inning. After Jeremy Finney crossed the dish on a Brian Simone sacrifice fly for the first run of the game, Nick Wheeler followed with a double to center field to score Dahlberg, giving the Tigers an early 2-0 lead. Wheeler went on to score the final run of the inning, as Kevin Deese shot a base hit up the middle. DSU added its first run in the bottom of the inning as Goodwin stole home, as the Tigers missed on an attempt to erase Niemann stealing second base.
The Red and White added two runs in the fourth inning, increasing its lead to 5-1. Dahlberg drove in Bryan Mason for the Tigers fourth run of the contest. Brian Simone then laced a shot in the left center, scoring Dahlberg, but was expunged trying to stretch the double into a triple for the final out of the inning.
Josh Varner (8-3) was straddled with the loss in three innings on the mound in relief. Varner surrendered two runs on three hits with three strikeouts and a walk. UWA starter Colter Millican tossed four innings, allowing five runs on six hits. Brian Burgess completed the final inning of work on the bump, allowing one run on one hit and a walk.
DSU’s Jason Coats (2-0) picked up the win with five innings in relief. Coats gave up just one run in 21 batters faced, allowing five hits with five strikeouts and duo of walks. Statesmen starter Korey Cunningham tossed four innings, allowing five runs on eight hits with one punch-out in the game.
West Alabama will wait on the decision of the NCAA Division II Baseball Committee about a berth in the South Regional. UWA entered Wednesday’s game as the No. 2-seed in the latest region poll.