While the University of Mississippi women’s softball team was making history last week, another team in our state was making strides on the diamond, as well.
Delta State University hosted an eight-team regional in Division II baseball—the Statesmen’s 31st NCAA postseason appearance and fifth NCAA South Regional appearance in the last six years. DSU entered the postseason looking to win its first regional since 2012. That year, Delta State beat Stillman College twice in the same day for the win.
Delta State started regional play against Florida Southern College after an opening-day bye. DSU jumped out to a 2-1 after the first inning, but FSC exploded for four runs to take a 5-2 lead after two innings.
The Moccasins and the Statesmen both added a run in the third inning to make the score 6-3. FCS added another run in the fourth inning to go up 7-3, but Delta State started the comeback in the fifth inning, scoring three runs to cut the Moccasins’ lead to 7-6.
DSU put up two more runs in the sixth inning to retake the lead at 8-7. The Statesmen then added an insurance run in the eighth inning, but it didn’t matter, as FSC didn’t get on the board again after the fourth inning.
After the Statesmen’s 9-7 win in a game where they had to rally from behind by four runs, DSU faced the defending national champion, Nova Southeastern University. There was no need for a comeback, here, though, as the Statesmen were in total control against the Sharks. Delta State cruised to a 4-1 win as the team pounded out 11 hits and held Nova Southeastern to just four hits.
In the regional final, DSU faced the University of West Alabama in an instant classic. Delta State started off with a 4-1 lead after two innings, but the Tigers weren’t done.
West Alabama added a run in the fifth inning to cut the Delta State lead to 4-2 and then added another run in the seventh inning to make it 4-3. In the bottom of the ninth, the Tigers tied the game at 4-4 to force extra innings. Delta State got the offense going again with two runs in the top of the 10th inning.
West Alabama threatened to make another comeback in the bottom of the 10th but couldn’t find a way to get back the two runs. DSU took the victory at 6-4 to win the South Regional and advance to the Division II Men’s College World Series.
Delta State won its 12th regional title overall and its sixth regional under current coach Mike Kinnison. DSU moved to a 68-42 all-time record in NCAA postseason play and a 16-9 mark in the South Regional.
DSU is 27-19 in the Division II Men’s World Series in program history. Delta State is ranked second in the nation by Collegiate Baseball and ranked fourth by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
DSU will face either West Chester University, who won the Atlantic Regional, or the University of North Georgia, who won the Southeast Regional. The NCBWA ranks West Chester University at 14th and North Georgia as ninth, whereas Collegiate Baseball ranks West Chester as 21st and North Georgia as sixth.
In the other half of the bracket, East Regional winner St. Thomas Aquinas College, which NCBWA ranks 29th and Collegiate Baseball did not rank, will face the University of California, San Diego, which won the West Regional and is unranked in either poll.
Midwest Regional winner Quincy University, which College Baseball ranks 27th and NCBWA ranks 28th, will take on the South Central Regional winner, Colorado Mesa University, which NCBWA ranks tied for 12th and Collegiate Baseball ranks fifth.
The 2017 Division II Men’s College World Series will take place in Grand Prairie, Texas, from May 27 to June 3.