Sunday, June 5, 2016

ASU can't hold early lead, eliminated by South Alabama

TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Alabama State coaches, players and fans learned Saturday just how hard it can be to win an NCAA regional game.

With ASU just nine outs from accomplishing a program-defining victory and staving off elimination in Tallahassee, South Alabama scored the game’s final five runs for a 6-3 win that sent the Hornets home.

Saturday was the first game in 37 opportunities this season ASU lost when leading after six innings and the first game the Hornets lost after hitting two home runs. In a season of firsts for the ASU program, going winless in its first NCAA regional experience was a bitter feeling to have as they left Dick Howser Stadium.

“Not the way we wanted to go out,” Alabama State coach Mervyl Melendez said. “We didn’t want to be and thought we were better than 0-2. The players now need to shift the focus from not getting here but doing better than we did this year.”

Melendez is now 1-24 in NCAA Tournament play as a head coach after making 11 regional appearances while at Bethune-Cookman (2000-04, 06-11). The win was in 2002 over Florida International.

Alabama State (39-17) quickly erased the memories from an 18-6 loss to host Florida State from the night before with the help of the home run.


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