Delta State rallies to lock up berth in title game

Published 11:52 pm Friday, June 1, 2012

Delta State is one tough out.

The Statesmen claimed their ninth elimination victory, 6-5, over Minnesota State-Mankato with a furious six-run rally over the final two innings on Friday. Michael Vinson drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth with a single to left.

The win earned the Statesmen a berth in the NCAA Division II championship game against West Chester today at 6 p.m.

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“I never give up on this team and they haven’t given up on me this entire season,” Delta State coach Mike Kinnison said. “We finally got something going in the eighth and made the adjustments necessary to pull it out in the end. Minnesota State is an excellent team and I want to congratulate them on a great season.”

Down to their last five outs and trailing 5-0, the Statesmen began an improbable comeback in the bottom of the eighth inning. Pinch-hitter Chad Fortenberry jump-started the frame for DSU with a single to centerfield off Mavericks reliever Bryce Bellin. Back-to-back walks for Jordan Chovanec and Sam Kidd loaded the bases for DSU and forced Bellin from the game.

Moore (8-1) settled in for the next five innings, allowing no runs on three hits with six strikeouts in the victory. MSU did not collect a hit after the seventh and Moore retired the last seven Mavericks to come to the plate in the game.

Aldridge once again led the Statesmen at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs.