ROME, Ga. – The No. 3 seed University of Alabama in Huntsville baseball team unseated the No. 1-seeded Delta State Statesmen by a score of 8-4 on Sunday evening at the Gulf South Conference Tournament at State Mutual Stadium, and with the victory, clinched a berth in the title game. The Chargers are 3-0 in the tournament for just the second time in program history (1998).
Halted after five innings for 30 minutes due to lightning in the area, it was all Chargers who scored five runs over the next three innings to improve to 31-20 on the year. The 8th-ranked Delta State Statesmen drop to 37-12 on the year and will face West Florida in an elimination game Monday at 10 a.m. CT.
David Kendrick (6-2) picked up the win on the hill for UAH after turning in an impressive 8.0 inning performance. He allowed four runs – three earned – on seven hits, while walking two and striking out two. From the fifth inning through the eighth, Kendrick retired 10 consecutive Statesmen. Defensively, UAH was just as impressive, turning three double plays on the day.
In the first inning, Ty Chancelor blasted just the third home run of the tournament in 11 games to give the Chargers an early 1-0 lead. It was, however, the second homer of the weekend for UAH after Justin Riddle recorded the other yesterday against West Georgia. Chancelor finished 4-for-4 in the contest, including the home run, three RBI and four runs scored.
Chancelor got another scoring effort started for UAH in the third with a one-out RBI single to centerfield, plating Jon McKinney who singled earlier in the frame and placed Justin Pearson on third who drew a walk earlier. Up next was Grant DeBruin who skied a sacrifice fly to centerfield to bring across Pearson and give the Chargers a 3-0 advantage through three innings.
Delta State got on the board in the fourth inning, scoring one run to cut its deficit to 3-1. Michael Vinson delivered a two-out RBI single into right field, just out of the reach of first baseman Vincent Kortbawi's glove, to score Jon Carnahan who doubled in the at-bat prior to Vinson's plate appearance.
The Statesmen returned in the top of the fifth to load the bases with only one out, but after Sam Kidd struck out looking, Ben Kingsley hit a ground-rule double over the right field wall to tie the game. Kendrick then threw his pickoff attempt at second wide into centerfield which gave DSU the lead, 4-3.
Out of the lightning delay in the sixth inning, Kendrick forced DSU into three straight groundouts. Chancelor then led the bottom half of the frame off with his third hit of the day, stole second, and then scored when Chandler Brock laced a single into centerfield, tying the game at 4-4.
Justin Pearson started a two-run inning in the seventh for UAH with a fielder's choice RBI as the Chargers regained the lead. Connecting on his fourth hit of the day, Chancelor gave UAH an insurance run and 6-4 lead with a single into left field which scored Pearson.
UAH plated two more runs in the eighth inning, which all but put the game out of reach for the Statesmen who went down in the ninth by virtue of a double play and strikeout looking.
The Chargers advance in the double-elimination tournament to the semifinals where they will face No. 4 seed North Alabama. The in-state rivals will meet on the diamond at State Mutual Stadium on Monday at 1 p.m. CT.