Pitching woes plagued the fifth ranked Delta State University Statesmen in their Gulf South Conference baseball doubleheader against the Lee University Flames here Sunday at Ferriss Field-Harvey Stadium.
DSU lost the first game 13-10 before coming back to win the second game 11-5. DSU pushed its record to 30-7 with an 18-4 mark in the GSC, while Lee pushed its record to 23-19 with a 14-9 mark in the GSC.
In the second game, the Flames, after trailing 8-1, pulled to within three runs of the Statesmen at 8-5 before DSU scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth. Senior first baseman Zack Shannon spearheaded the inning as he cranked his national leading 24th home run of the season with a runner on base for a two-run shot.
In the doubleheader, DSU’s pitching gave up 18 runs on 28 hits, while the offense roped 28 hits and scored 21 runs.
“We didn’t really get the starting performances we wanted in either game as far as them being able to get as deep in the game and really our bullpen didn’t hold up,” Delta State head baseball coach Mike Kinnison said. “We had chances to win. I thought our hitters covered that to a great degree. I thought our hitters had a good day, but we just didn’t get the pitching performances we need or we’re going to need.”
Hunter Riggins (2-2) took the loss in relief in game one by giving up three runs on four hits with four strikeouts and a walk in three innings of work, while Dalton Minton (6-1) earned the win in game two by giving up five runs, four earned, on six hits with five strikeouts and three walks in four innings of work. Peyton White earned his fourth save of the season by giving two hits with seven strikeouts and a walk in three shutout innings of work.
In the doubleheader, Shannon continued his great work as he went 4-for-6 with a home run, four RBIs and two runs scored. He now has 74 RBIs which is tops in the nation. Shannon drew five walks with four intentional walks in the first game. In the bottom of the ninth in game one, Shannon and Clay Casey were both intentionally walked back-to-back. In the twinbill, Casey went 2-for-8 with a double, four RBIs and a run scored.
“It’s certainly not surprising,” Kinnison said. “Every move we make we anticipate that. There were sometimes it didn’t work for them. It did in that last inning but earlier it did not. It’s obvious we’re going to have other people in the line-up that are covering those two guys.”
Along with Shannon and Casey, Justin Nussbaum went 5-for-8 with a double and three runs scored, Emil Ellis went 4-for-6 with a double, three RBIs and three runs scored, Nick Morgan went 4-for-9 with a double, three RBIs and four runs scored, Jason Popovich went 3-for-10 with four RBIs and a run scored, Juwan Burney went 2-for-6 with a double, a RBI and two runs scored and Brian Lane went 2-for-7 with a RBI and two runs scored.
DSU is scheduled to hit the road Tuesday to play Arkansas Tech in the first game of a two-game series in Russellville, Ark. Tuesday’s game is set to start at 7 p.m. The two teams will meet up again on Wednesday at 2 p.m.