Valley gets run in eighth to take win over Alcorn for Sunday split

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 9, 2003

LORMAN &045; Turnabout is indeed fair play.

Or in this case, it’s fair as long as you can take advantage of it. Mississippi Valley State got in a bind late in the game Sunday and had to walk the bases loaded but escaped to force extra innings against Alcorn.

Valley then forced the Braves to do the same in the eighth, but this time the Delta Devils got a run off it to take an 8-7 win for a split of Sunday’s doubleheader and the weekend series.

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Alcorn won the first game 6-4.

&uot;In this side of the conference the last couple of years it’s been Alcorn, and it’ll be Alcorn again,&uot; Valley head coach Doug Shanks said. &uot;One thing about Alcorn kids &045; they never quit. We got them down five or six times. Most teams would have hung it up. That’s why it’s so tough to play down here.&uot;

The loss was a tough one for the Braves (8-4 in SWAC) after erasing a 5-0 lead and getting in a position to win in their last at-bat. But in the eighth the Devils got a leadoff double from Tee Thomas and forced the Braves to load the bases with one out in hopes of turning a double play or getting a force out at the plate.

Cleanup hitter Nathan Purvis then launched a fly ball to left that was deep enough for Thomas to score and give Valley the 8-7 lead.

&uot;I’m glad they got those runs early,&uot; Alcorn head coach Willie &uot;Rat&uot; McGowan said. &uot;I know my team is not going to give up. My team came back and fought real well. I thought really we should have won the ball game. Shanks came in and stole that one. We really should have won three games. If we would have won that game, we’d be up three games on everybody.&uot;

The Braves didn’t go down easily in their last at-bat, either. Shanks stayed with left-handed reliever Chad Williams in the eighth, but Sly McClain was down to his last strike with two outs before doubling down the right field line.

Williams, however, came back and got Edrick Patton to strike out to end the game.

&uot;It is (hard to lose), but everybody is working hard,&uot; said McClain, who scored the tying run in the seventh. &uot;Our goal is to win, but it gets kind of hard to lose heart-breakers like this. I think he had a little more speed on his fastball (than the starter). We weren’t being as aggressive as we should have been, but we came through and tied the game up.&uot;

McClain came through with similar results in the seventh to tie the game up. He drove a Williams fastball down the left-field line for a triple and scored when Valley third baseman Dee Hornsburger overthrew first on a Kris Peters grounder.

Peters went to third on a wild pitch, and Shanks opted to walk Matt Richter and Janone Watts to load the bases with one out. Williams then got Tory Bates to strike out and Tim Galloway to fly out to right to end the inning and leave Alcorn with three runners stranded.

&uot;I figured we’d just get a double-play ball,&uot; said Williams, a Phoenix, Ariz., native who was drafted by the Diamondbacks out of high school. &uot;I thought we’d be all right. I was hoping we could get a ground ball and go home (against Bates). You’re never expecting to get a strikeout.&uot;

The at-bat hurt the Braves after they struggled in their first three innings against Williams. He allowed just one hit the first three innings, a Watts single that scored Richter to cut the lead to 7-6.

&uot;That really hurt us,&uot; McGowan said. &uot;But that’s part of baseball. The kid we had (Bates)_&045; he had been playing tremendous ball. I wasn’t about to pinch-hit for him. He’s just a freshman, and I wanted to keep him in there. He’s down now, but I told him not to worry about it. At Valley (Saturday) he hit a two-run homer to tie it up.&uot;

The Devils put five runs on the board in the first inning and chased starter Derian Dotson out of the game after he registered just one out. The Devils got another in third and fifth innings off left-handed reliever Courtney Dunn, who finished the game out and struck out five.

&uot;Their little pitcher battled,&uot; Shanks said. &uot;He kept hanging in there, hanging in there and hanging in there. He almost won the game.&uot;

The Braves answered with three in the second off Valley starter Trey Walls with two coming on a double from Lawrence Woods. They got two more in the third on a Galloway two-run homer.

&uot;This is a big win for our team because we’ve been struggling the last couple of years,&uot; Williams said. &uot;This shows we can play with Alcorn State, who has always been one of the better teams in the conference.&uot;