The Statesmen last week fell to No. 2 in the NCAA South Region Poll. After hearing the news of their slip in the poll, Delta State dropped two of three games to the Valdosta State University Blazers in its last regular season GSC series in Valdosta Ga. Delta State, at 38-7-1 overall, finished GSC play with a 19-4-1 record and ended up earning the No. 1 seed in the tournament.
The Statesmen will begin their play in the tournament on Thursday when they take on Christian Brothers Buccaneers at 6 p.m. in the first round of the double-elimination tournament. The winner of the DSU-CBU game will take on the winner of the Valdosta State-North Alabama game on Friday at 6 p.m., while the losers of those games will play each other at 3 p.m. on Friday.
The Statesmen are led by 11 players who named All-GSC Tuesday. Four of DSU’s all-conference selections are in the pitching staff. The first-team selections were starting pitchers Josh Branstetter (7-2, 1.89 ERA) and Michael Manly (7-0, 2.39 ERA) and reliever Taylor Stark (3-0, 3.05 ERA, 5 SV), while starting pitcher Colton Mitchell (6-2, 4.17 ERA) was the second team selection. Even though he didn’t make All-GSC, reliever Garrett Pickens (2-0, 4 SV) has been virtually lights out as he has only given up five hits and six walks with 14 strikeouts over 16.1 scoreless innings of work for an ERA of 0.00.
First team selections Jordan Chovanec (.337 avg., 1 HR, 25 RBIs, 48 runs, 17 SB) and Michael Vinson (.313 avg., 3 HR, 35 RBIs, 12 SB) lead DSU’s outfield, while third baseball and first team selection Tyler Aldridge (.383 avg., 1 HR, 32 RBIs, 40 runs, 19 SB) and second team selections shortstop Josh Crowdus (.290 avg., 15 RBIs, 25 runs) and second baseman Kasey Hinton (.336 avg., 16 RBIs, 27 runs, 12 SB) lead DSU’s infield.
Second-team selection Carlos Leal (.333 avg., 1 HR, 23 RBIs) as had a great year at catcher, while designated hitter and second-team selection Ben Kingsley (.375 avg., 6 HR, 53 RBIs, 13 doubles) has had a good year swinging the bat.