Kearney, Neb. – The Delta (Miss.) State Fighting Okra belted four home runs, including a leadoff shot in the top of the 12th inning, to beat Nebraska-Kearney, 9-4, Saturday evening in Arkadelphia, Ark.
This was the third and final day of the Henderson State Invitational. UNK (1-4) goes across the street to face Ouachita Baptist (2-4) on Sunday at noon.
The Lopers were more than poised to upset DSU (4-1), officially known as the Statesmen but affectionately nicknamed the Fighting Okra, but left 15 runners on base and also gave up an unearned run in the seventh. A 2017 Division II World Series qualifier, Delta State (Cleveland, Miss.) got long balls from four different players and saw three pitchers combine for 15 strikeouts.
Down 4-3, UNK tied things up in the eighth when nine-hole hitter and junior center fielder Brett Young (Lodi, Calif.) hit a one out single to left and then stole second and home. However, a Loper was stranded at second, something that again happened in the bottom of the ninth. DSU got out of that jam thanks to two K’s and a fly out to center.
After neither team threatened in the 10th and 11th innings, eight-hole hitter Darek Sargent (3 for 4) led off the 12th with a homer to left. Five batters later, senior first baseman Zach Shannon (2 for 6) hit a three-run dinger. He was chosen as the 2017 D2 National Player of the Year.
The Okra had three pitchers each throw four innings with junior southpaw Melvin Frazier picking up the win. He struck out four, walked two and gave up four hits.
Colorado senior Mitchell Robinson had one of his best games as a Loper. Making his 39th career start, fourth most in school history, he allowed three earned in eight full innings. Fanning two and walking just one, he scattered seven hits in getting a no decision.
At the plate, junior left fielder Brandon Hernandez (San Diego, Calif.) went 3 for 5 with sophomore first baseman Ty Roseberry (Kearney) remaining hot, going 2 for 4 with two RBI’s from the cleanup spot. Both of his hits were doubles with his second coming in the ninth. He was lifted at that time for a pinch runner.