Kentucky State University baseball dropped both games of a doubleheader against Emmanuel College Saturday afternoon.

Head coach Rob Henry was encouraged his team’s offense performance.

“Our offense had a really strong approach throughout game one and was sporadic in game two,” said Henry. “We did a nice job of reversing momentum with our offense by coming back from an early deficit. We took the lead by scoring four runs against a big lefty throwing 93-95. Unfortunately, we couldn’t hold them down the next inning and they earned the walk-off win. In the second game, we struggled early and then figured it out a little and put up some runs again, but we couldn’t put together enough to battle all the way back.”

The pitching and defense proved to be the down fall for KSU throughout the afternoon, but will be a focus of improvement throughout the season.

“Undoubtedly, we’ve got some improvement to make on the mound, you can’t win games often giving up double digit run totals,” said Henry. “Our defense hurt us early in game one and we pitched better than the score shows. Game two, we’ve got to have more competitiveness early. First hitter of the game walked on four pitches nowhere close to the strike zone and that set the tone early. We’ll get better on the mound because we’ve got players who are committed to improving.”

The Thorobreds will travel to Voorhees College for a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 11 at noon.

Game 1: EC 11 KSU 10

The offense for both squads was on display as KSU (0-2) took control early on. With a man on second base, sophomore catcher Greg Alexander drove in sophomore first baseman Artie Santomo to give the visiting squad a 1-0 advantage.

The Thorobreds relinquished their lead in the bottom of the second inning after committing two fielding errors to give EC a 3-1 edge heading into the third inning.

KSU charged back into the lead in the top of the fourth inning after freshman outfielder Cameron Hughes blasted a double with men on second and third, scoring sophomores Cameron Starks and Jay Poullard to tie the game up at three apiece.

The Thorobreds surge continued as a fielding error by the Lions allowed Hughes to score to give the visitors a 4-3 lead. KSU added to its lead as Santomo singled in a run with two men on moments later to make the score 5-3.

Following a pitching change for EC and runners on first and second, senior third baseman Brandon Story drove in the final run of the inning for the Thorobreds, smashing an RBI double to give KSU a 6-3 advantage going into the bottom half of the fourth inning.

With the score tied at six in the top of the fifth, sophomore Russell Sims propelled KSU back into the lead after knocking in a two-run double. Shortly after, Santomo picked up his second and third RBI of the afternoon as the Florence, Ky. native reached base on an error to score extending the Thorobred lead to 10-6.

KSU was unable to hold onto its lead, as the Lions scored four runs in the sixth and a walk-off single in the seventh to drop its second game of the season.

Freshman Matthew Oxford picked up the loss for the visitors, striking out one and walking two in one and third innings. Santomo went 1-for-3 and recorded three RBI while Sims went 3-for-4 with two RBI for the Thorobreds.

Game 2: EC 17 KSU 6

The Thorobreds (0-3) struggled early in the second game, giving up nine runs in the first two innings of play.

In the top of the third and runners on first and second, KSU recorded its first run of the ballgame after Santomo singled to cut the lead to 9-1.

KSU continued to chip away at the Lions’ lead, as Story was walked to put a man on first and second for Alexander, who belted a two-run single to make the score 9-3. Moments later, Poullard drove in Story with a single to give the Thorobreds their fourth run of the inning.

The Thorobreds could not bounce back from the huge first inning by EC, dropping their third straight game.

Junior pitcher Chae Butler picked up the loss for KSU, giving up nine earned runs to go along with his one strikeouts and three walks. Alexander went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI from the plate while Santomo went 2-for-3 with an RBI for the visiting squad.

by Eric Matthews

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