-A flair for the dramatic led the way for Kentucky State University baseball in a 9-8 walk-off victory against Eastern Division No. 1 seed Albany State University on Saturday morning at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
The win for the Thorobreds (20-32, 12-9) gives them the first 20-win season of the Rob Henry coaching era and its first 20-win season since 1988. KSU will continue its trek towards the program’s first ever SIAC title against Miles College on Saturday at 6 pm ET.
In the opening game of the tournament for KSU, the Thorobreds unleashed an offensive onslaught with 16 runs against No. 3 seeded Paine College in a convincing 16-5 victory. The offense showed up again for coach Henry’s squad scoring three runs in the opening three innings, while sophomore starting pitcher Joe Crisp kept MC scoreless.
Junior shortstop Justin Stinson added to the lead in the bottom of the fourth as he drove a two-run double to left center field putting the Thorobreds ahead 5-0 going into the fifth inning.
Crisp began to struggle in fifth allowing three runs on two hits and a walk. KSU answered in the bottom half of the inning as sophomore second baseman Russell Sims lined a ball to the right side of the field scoring sophomore first baseman Cameron Starks. The RBI single gave the Thorobreds a 6-3 lead as Crisp took the mound in the sixth.
The Golden Bears cracked Crisp once again as he allowed four runs on four hits surrounding the lead and putting KSU down 7-6.
Sims answered the bell again in the seventh tying the game up at 7-7 with a RBI double down the left line, scoring Starks for the second time in consecutive at-bats.
Freshman pitcher Connor Kelley entered the game in place of Crisp on the mound in the sixth and kept MC in check for three and a third innings. His only miscue came in the top of the eighth when he allowed a double, followed by a sacrifice bunt, and a single to left field putting KSU down 8-7 with six outs to go.
The Golden Bears kept the Thorobreds’ bats silent in the eighth, but the ninth proved to be a different tale as senior third baseman Brandon Story led off the final frame with a single up the middle. Junior catcher Greg Alexander drove in Story for the tying run with a RBI double to left center fielder. After a base on balls to sophomore right fielder Jay Poullard, Starks laid down a sacrifice bunt moving Alexander to third, Poullard to second, and one out, calling Sims back to the plate. On a two-two count, Sims took a ball in the dirt, squirting away from the catcher as Alexander scored the winning run for KSU.
Sims, Starks, and Story led the Thorobreds with three hits. Stinson picked up three RBIs, and Alexander added two.