Saturday, March 5, 2016

ASU Baseball Takes Game One Of Series Against Jackson State

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- Joseph Camacho hurled seven strong innings, and Ray Hernandez hit his second home run in as many games as Alabama State defeated Jackson State 7-2 in game one of their SWAC-opening series at the Wheeler-Watkins Baseball Complex.

The Hornets (4-5 overall, 1-0 SWAC) won their third straight game in opening league play with a win for the third time in five seasons under Mervyl Melendez.

"It's important, especially against one of the better teams in the conference," Melendez said in winning the conference opener. "You're playing at home, you're setting the tone, and you have Camacho on the hill. Starting with a victory is important to us, and to the guys' confidence."

Camacho won for the first time this season (1-0), allowing only four hits, two runs, walking two, and striking out a season-high eight.

"I thought he was stellar," Melendez said of Camacho, the two-time SWAC Pitcher of the Year who improved to 27-4 in his ASU career, and is 23-1 since 2014. "He made one bad pitch the entire game, leaving a fast ball up that should have only allowed one run. I'm very happy with his performance."

Alabama State scored in the first inning. Yamil Pagan beat out an infield single to third, and advanced to second on a wild pitch. He scored on a Carlos Ocasio double to center field to put the Hornets on the board. With two outs, Hernandez singled to left field to give Alabama State a 2-0 lead.

After Jackson State (5-4, 0-1) tied the score in the second, the Hornets scored at least one run in the fourth-seventh innings. Dillon Cooper was hit by a pitch to lead off the fourth, and eventually scored on a two-out wild pitch to give Alabama State the lead for good, 3-2.

The Hornets took advantage of Jackson State miscues in the next two innings. A pair of errors led to a fifth-inning run and a 4-2 lead. In the sixth, Chris Biocic walked, and advanced to second on a wild pitch. With the bases loaded and one out, Pagan's sacrifice fly to right field scored Biocic. With two outs, Gustavo Rios scored on a passed ball for a 6-2 lead.

In the seventh, Hernandez drilled a 1-1 pitch over the left field fence for his third home run of the season, capping off his second straight three-hit game.

"He's seeing the ball very well right now," Melendez said of Hernandez, who is now hitting a career-best .323 this season as the Hornets hit at least one home run for the fifth straight game. "He's locked in, and has produced some great at-bats. He's really hitting the ball hard, and squaring the baseball on the bat. The last six hits he's had have all been line drives, and that's been the impressive part."

Game two of the series is Saturday at 2 p.m., and game three Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Wheeler-Watkins Baseball Complex.


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