Sunday’s game was another example of how good DSU’s offense has been. The Statesmen, the top ranked team in the South Region and second ranked team in the nation, roped 16 hits on the day. Tyler Aldridge, who has hit safely in all 24 of DSU’s games, led the way again by going 3-for-5 with a double, three RBIs, three stolen bases and two runs scored. Aldridge currently leads DSU in batting average (.433), hits (42) and on-base percentage (.509). He also has 24 RBIs with 22 runs and has stolen eight bases in nine attempts.
“He, to me in my view, turned the corner offensively in the latter part of the season last year,” Delta State head baseball coach Mike Kinnison said. “Through the postseason play, he was as productive as anyone we had. He’s picked up this year right where he left off last year. He’s been that guy that has been there for us everyday offensively.”
Jordan Chovanec also had a big day with three hits, three runs, a RBI and stole home, followed by Ben Kingsley with three hits and two runs, Brent Langston with two hits and a RBI and Sam Kidd with two hits and a steal of home. For the year, DSU is now hitting .347 as a team with 208 runs for an average of 8.7 runs a game.
Even with the team’s overall performance at the plate, Kinnison said the hitters still need to keep working.
“It’s been up and down,” Kinnison said about the offense. “We’re kind of striving for more consistency, but that’s the nature of hitting some times. It fluctuates little bit with the quality of what’s on the mound, and we’ve been on both sides of that.”
The biggest concern for DSU right now is the pitching staff. Even though the overall team ERA is 3.53, the bullpen currently has a slightly high ERA of 4.38. DSU’s starting pitchers have a solid 3.05 ERA overall, but the starters’ ERA over the last 13 games is 3.93 (68.2 IP, 30 ER).
In Sunday’s game against Christian Brothers, Jordan Moore gave up just one run on six hits, but he failed to go the five innings he needed to qualify for the win as he pitched 4 2/3 innings. Colton Mitchell (2-1) got the win in relief as he gave up a hit in 1 1/3 shutout innings of work.
“Pitching, we’re trying to find some depth,” Kinnison said. “Our front line guys have been good. The midweek staff and the middle relief roles for us have been disappointing, so it’s a big challenge with us right now trying to find some guys that give us a little more depth on the mound.”
Delta State has also battled some injuries as Carlos Leal, who played in 15 games with 14 starts, has been out for close to 10 games with a knee injury. Starting pitcher Michael Manley didn’t start this weekend because of elbow soreness.
Kinnison has been happy with the way the players have handled the injuries.
“I’m pleased with the overall results,” Kinnison said. “We’re off to a good start, but I think there are some things that we can on and improve on to.”
Delta State will return to the diamond today when the team travels to Legion Field in Greenville to play Mississippi Valley State University for a 6 p.m. contest. The Statesmen will return home on Wednesday to play Harding in a single game at Ferriss Field with the first pitch set for 6:30 p.m.