DSU wins regional, advances to Series

Published 9:24 am Tuesday, May 23, 2017

CLEVELAND — For the first time in five years, Delta State is World Series bound.

Jamell Newson hit a tiebreaking double in the top of the 10th inning and then scored on another double by Josh Russell, as the Statesmen beat West Alabama 6-4 on Monday to win the NCAA Division II South Regional.

The victory sent Delta State (44-11) to the Division II World Series for the first time since 2012. It’s the 12th regional championship overall for the Statesmen, and the sixth under longtime head coach Mike Kinnison.

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Delta State will play Lindenwood (Mo.) in the first round of the World Series on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Grand Prairie, Texas.

The Statesmen went a perfect 3-0 in the regional, but had to work hard to get the last win against Gulf South Conference rival West Alabama (39-21).

Justin Nussbaum, Jason Popovich and Emil Ellis all had RBI singles in the second inning as DSU jumped out to a 4-0 lead. West Alabama chipped away at the margin, however, getting solo home runs by Marcus Morrisette in the bottom of the second inning and Taylor Stafford in the fifth to cut the lead in half.

Luke Phillips singled in a run in the seventh inning, and then got another two-out hit in the ninth that included a fielding error that let Nick Delgado come around from first base with the tying run.

After blowing the lead, Delta State got out of the ninth inning alive and then regrouped in the top of the 10th.
Gulf South Conference Player of the Year Zack Shannon led off with a single to extend his hitting streak to 18 games. Following a strikeout, Newson doubled to left center and Shannon scored from first, sliding headfirst across home plate with the go-ahead run to make it 5-4. Russell followed with another double to plate Newson for a 6-4 lead.

Russell finished with three hits, an RBI and a run scored.

Morrisette led off the bottom of the 10th with a single for West Alabama, but was erased on a double play. The next two batters also singled, but Brock Montgomery was caught off the bag at first for the final out.