Braves, Hornets split

Published 1:36 pm Saturday, April 7, 2007

The Alcorn State baseball team split a pair of games in doubleheader baseball action against Alabama State Friday night at Chester Willis Field, losing 8-7 in the first game, and winning 5-1 in the second game.

The Braves bounced back after losing by one run in the first game by scoring three runs, including an RBI triple by Caleb Betschart, in the bottom of the first inning to take an early lead.

“We settled down and played ball,” Alcorn head coach Willie McGowan said.

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Along with settling down, McGowan also adjusted the lineup in the second game, sitting down senior Chris Walker for sophomore Terrance Bell at shortstop. Walker was not having success at the plate, and McGowan said he wanted to put somebody in that would put the ball in play. He said Bell was able to do that.

“Sometimes it is good to sit seniors out to let them see what is going on,” he said. But he added that Walker will return to the starting lineup today.

The Braves swapped a run with the Hornets in the third inning, and added an additional run in the bottom of the fifth inning to lead 5-1.

Following the third inning, the Brave’s defense did not allow another hit.

“The first game took everything out of us,” Hornets head coach Larry Watkins. “We didn’t hit the ball at all in the second game.”

In the first game, Alcorn built a five run lead heading into the seventh inning, but gave up six runs to blow the lead and eventually lost the game 8-7.

The Braves swept the Hornets in a three-game series early in the season, but came up short in game one.

The Hornets (12-16, 5-10) jumped ahead early in the first inning when Selmon Pearson launched a home run over the right field wall, but the Braves (17-14, 8-6) answered right back in the bottom of the inning by scoring two runs off a Marcus Davis single and a throwing error by the Hornets.

The Braves built on their lead by scoring one run in the third inning off a Shawn Taylor home run, three runs in the bottom of the fifth and one run in the sixth.

But in the top of the seventh an Alcorn error scored one and a second run crossed the plate off an Andre Jones single. Back-to-back homeruns by Breon Landers and Johnathan Stevens tied the game at 7-7. The go ahead run came off a Alexandria Griggs single that scored Furquan Shamsud-Din, and the Braves went three up, three down to end the game.

“We made a good comeback and never gave up,” Watkins said. “Our freshmen stayed hungry.”

McGowan said his team fooled around and got beat, and he did not pull starting pitcher Darryl Jordan out in time.

“We got off to a bad start,” he said. “You can’t win games by getting off to bad starts.”

Both teams will take the field today at 1 p.m. to settle the series.