Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Alabama State Baseball Rides Strong Season, And a Win Over Powerful Miami, Into SWAC Tourney

(Photo from SWAC.org)
Next week when the Southwestern Athletic Conference sees its first pitch in the conference baseball tournament, there will no question about who the top-seeded team will be.

How Alabama State got there is the story though.

The Hornets have blazed through the 2014 season 21-3 in the SWAC and 34-19 overall, giving the most wins in a season in program history. One of those non-conference victories was a huge stunner on May 4 over perennial national power, then fourth-ranked Miami.

"Every win is a building block to where we want to be," said Head Coach Mervyl Melendez after the Miami win.  "We have to continue to work hard and continue to get better."

The Hornets do it with solid hitting and pitching.  They lead the SWAC in hitting, ,RBIs, hits, runs, homers, fielding, are second ERA (4.15). 

Waldyvan Estrada, a junior outfielder, leads the team with a .346 batting average and is one of the SWAC leaders in hits and RBIs.  Junior infielders Einar Muniz and Emmanuel Marrero are also two of the of the conference's best hitters.  Pitcher Joseph Camacho nine wins and 2.36 ERA leads a solid pitching staff.

It's a Hornets squad that doesn't hit a lot of home runs, but they sting opponents with steady hitting and strong pitching.

That means a tough match-up for SWAC foes in the baseball tourney, set for May 14-18 in New Orleans. 

"We accomplished what we wanted to, which was the number one seed (in the SWAC's Eastern Division)," said Melendez. "We didn't set a mark in victories, conference or overall. We set out to get the number one seed. We were able to accomplish that. We have to go into that (SWAC Tournament beginning May 14) and play hard, and we have to play our game."

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