The following is a release from Alabama A&M:
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Trailing by three entering the bottom of the ninth Alabama A&M (6-12, 6-7 SWAC) rallied for four runs to upend Mississippi Valley State's (0-17, 0-14 SWAC) upset bid and claim a four-game series sweep with an 8-7 victory in an NCAA Division I baseball game on Sunday, April 18.
It would be smooth sailing for both pitchers over the first two and a half innings with no real threats before the Bulldogs broke through in the home half of the third. That would come right away with the crack of the bat of freshman outfielder Carlos Mas, who cranked a solo shot over the left field fence for a 1-0 lead.
A&M pitching would continue to hold MVSU down and went into the fifth holding that one run margin. Mas would play a role again, this time singling to lead off the inning and coming around to score three batters later when shortstop Pierre Brewton (Madison, Ala.) singled to center to push to a two-run advantage.
The Delta Devils would finally break through in the top of the sixth with runners on second and third and two outs. A walk would then load the bases before Ian Tolentino singled up the middle to bring home a pair of runs and tie it at 2-2. A hit by pitch reloaded the bases but A&M got out of the jam with a fly ball to preserve the tie.
It would remain that way until the home half of the seventh when freshman catcher Dylan Hall (Elkmont, Ala.) singled to lead things off and senior designated hitter Brock Mitchell (Brownsboro, Ala.) doubled to right center. Mas was "that man" again as he continued to have productive plate appearances, this time lofting a ball to center for a sacrifice fly that scored Hall.
Following a walk and stolen base by freshman third baseman Jalen Ford (Birmingham, Ala.), sophomore second baseman Trevor Berkemeyer (North Las Vegas, Nev.) added a sac fly of his own to bring Mitchell home and make it 4-2. They would get first and third on the basepaths to continue to apply pressure before a fly out ended the inning.
What had been a slow and steady type of affair quickly turned into a game of "can you top this" as Valley responded in the top of the eighth with four hits and three runs to take a 5-4 lead. Having a taste of the lead for the first time all day, and eyeing their first win in 37 tries, MVSU added to their lead in the ninth with a leadoff solo homer by Iankel Santos and a run on a wild pitch to head to the bottom of the frame up 7-4.
Staring at a three-run deficit to a team they had taken the previous three from over the past two days, the Bulldogs had a rally in their bones. Back-to-back singles and a walk loaded the bases in short order before Berkemeyer earned a walk to bring home a run and cut it to 7-5.
Playing into the old adage of "you have to tie it before you can win it", Brewton did just that as he laced a single to left to knot it up at 7-7. Having seen their lead disappear as quickly as it possibly could, the Delta Devils reloaded the bases on an intentional walk to setup a force.
While the inning had not gone their way, that particular strategy did as they choked off the winning run at the plate on a ball to shortstop. They would not be so fortunate with the next batter, however, as sophomore catcher Dillon Roop (New Market, Ala.) took one up the middle to bring home Brewton as the winning run in a thrilling 8-7, come-from-behind victory.
Brewton was ever present as he went 4-for-4 with three RBIs, a walk and a run scored to lead Alabama A&M while Mas nearly matched him, going 3-for-3 with three runs and a pair of RBIs. Roop had perhaps the most important RBI of the day and Berkemeyer managed to drive in two runs without benefit of a hit, doing so with a bases loaded walk and a sac fly.
Freshman pitcher Jason Garcia (Miami, Fla.) started on the hill and went 5.2, allowing just a pair of earned runs and four hits while striking out eight but it would be senior Michael Hovermill (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) who vulture the win. A day after collecting the save, the 6-0 righty pitched one inning, allowing one run and striking out the side to improve to 1-3.
Tolentino led MVSU with a 2-for-5 day that included a pair of RBIs and a run scored while Kyndell Dolphin was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Santos delivered a solo homerun for his one RBI while Aaron Brazelton and Mychael Jamison drove in the only other runs. Nicholas Johnson started and went seven innings, allowing four earned runs and eight hits but it would be Antonio Walker who suffered the loss (0-1) after giving up four runs on three hits.
Having not played away from the friendly confines of home this month, the Bulldogs will travel to Lorman, Mississippi for a three-game set with Alcorn State. That series will be from April 23-25 with the first two games starting at 6 p.m. and the finale going at 1 p.m.