DSU collides with Alabama-Huntsville in first round
Special to The Star
May 4, 2001
CLEVELAND It seems like you can't play a Gulf South Conference Baseball Tournament without Delta State and Alabama-Huntsville facing each other at some point.
The 2001 tournament is no different as DSU shoots for its record ninth GSC Tournament title, starting with a first round match up with UAH on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Since UAH's program began in 1996, DSU and UAH have met in three of the last five GSC tournaments and once in the NCAA Division II South Central Regional.
Entering this weekend's encounter, the series is tied 4-4.
Third ranked Delta State (43-7) and 22nd ranked Alabama-Huntsville (34-15) played a double header earlier in the season in Huntsville, Ala. The Statesmen claimed a 7-2 win over the then number one ranked Chargers in game one. UAH overcome a 5-0 deficit to claim a 6-5 win in the nightcap.
Delta State enters the tournament as one of the conference's hottest teams. The Statesmen have won 19 straight and 23 out of the last 24 games. DSU's last loss came on March 31 against Southern Arkansas, 8-6.
The Statesmen boast a .381 team batting average coming into the tournament. J.J. Joiner leads the team with a .441 average followed by Steven Tomaszewski, .423, Frank Smith, .411, Marcus Van Every, .400, and Eli Whiteside, .398.
Van Every and Whiteside lead the team in home runs and RBI's. Van Every leads the team with 64 RBI while Whiteside has 59 RBI's. Whiteside is one up in the home run department with eight.
True freshmen Reeves Smith and John Polles, and senior Tremain Rogers make up the heart of a DSU pitching staff that has started pay dividends.
In the last five games DSU hurlers have three shutouts. Smith is 3-1 with a 4.02 ERA and 51 strikeouts. Polles pitched seven scoreless innings in a 4-0 win on last Sunday at Harding. He has a 9-0 record with a 3.36 ERA and 61 strikeouts. Rogers is 7-0 with 59 strikeouts and a 3.50 ERA.
Clay Overby, Michael Nix and Dusty Hughes are key relievers in the Statesmen arsenal.
Overby is 4-0 with one save and a 3.66 ERA. Hughes is 6-0 with a 4.74 ERA and two saves. Nix has been used mainly in a set up role, compiling a 3.20 ERA and a 1-0 record.
Alabama-Huntsville earned the third and final tournament spot last weekend. The Chargers found themselves in danger of missing the tournament for the first time in school history and needed a sweep of West Alabama and a Montevallo win over Lincoln Memorial to earn the final tournament spot.
UAH took advantage of 13 UWA errors to earn the needed sweep and then got a gift when Montevallo pulled off a 5-1 win over Lincoln Memorial in the series' final game last Sunday.
Phillip Donaldson leads the Chargers with a .420 batting average. David Gates leads the team with 11 home runs while Wes Long has a team high 49 RBI. Gates follows close behind with 48 RBI's.
Adam Bass is the club's ace with a 10-1 record, a 3.59 ERA and 60 strikeouts. Donaldson is the team's top closer with a 3.11 ERA and six saves.