Claflin baseball stays alive in SIAC Tournament
Albany, Ga. — The Claflin University baseball team avoided elimination from the 2018 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Tournament on Friday (May 4) by defeating with Paine College (11-9) and Clark Atlanta University (14-4) in the loser bracket.
The two wins puts Claflin, now 17-31, into another elimination game on Saturday (May 5) against Kentucky State University at 2 p.m. If the Panthers are successful in that contest, they will play a second game at 6 p.m. with the winner advancing to Sunday (May 6) championship round.
It was Cleveland Westbrook and Eric Dubose that provided Claflin with productive pitching outing on the pitching mound.
First it was Westbrook going the distance as the Panthers survived the first elimination game. In pushing his season record to 8-2, Westbrook gave up 10 hits, four earned runs and fanned 10 batters. The double-digit in strikeouts was Westbrook fourth of the season with a season-high of 12 against Paine (Mar. 31).
The second game saw Dubose, making his fourth start of the season in 16 appearances, allow Clark Atlanta nine hits in going the distance (7 innings). He gave up three earned runs and surrendered only one walk.
As for the offense, the Claflin batters generated 25 runs on 30 hits in the two games. Eric McElveen led the way, going 5-for-6 with a home run and four RBIs at the plate, pushing his tournament worksheet to 9-for-10 (.900 batting average) with six RBIs and three doubles over three tournament games.
Darrell Langston is also enjoying an outstanding tournament thus far at 6-for-13 (.461 BA) with five RBIs and seven runs scored. He was 4-for-9 in Friday’s games.
In the Panther first game of the day, Jonathan Parnell, II two-run single in the ninth inning proved to be the difference as Claflin won 11-9.
The two runs provided Claflin with an 11-7 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth inning where Paine scored twice to cut the Panthers lead to 11-9. Parnell had two hits in the game.
Before the ninth inning scoring, Paine held a 3-1 lead after four innings, only to see Claflin move ahead at 5-3 with a four-run fifth inning. Langston produced two runs with a single followed a RBI single off the bat of McElveen. The third Panther run was unearned.
Claflin lead did not last long as Paine erupted for four runs in the next inning (sixth) for a 7-5 advantage.
Claflin later tied the contest in seventh inning at 7-7 with a pair of unearned runs and went ahead for good in the eighth inning (9-7) as Grayland Fowler and Langston drove in a run each.
Claflin was led by Langston at 2-for-6 with three RBIs and scored four times followed by McElveen, who was a perfect 4-for-4 with an RBI, and Jalen Sprull 3-for-4 with an RBI.
Ashtin Knowles had a double for the Panthers and scored three times.
Richard Dixon was the top hitter for Paine at 1-for-4 with 3 RBIs.
Evan Krenz, 8-8, took the loss for Paine.
In the second game, the Panthers jumped out to a 6-2 lead after four innings and broke the contest open with an eight-run fifth inning.
McElveen led the way with a home run and three RBIs followed by Sprull who was 2-for-3 with three RBIs, Langston at 2-for-3 that included three runs scored and two RBIs, Clyde Parker at 3-for-4 and two RBIs, Parnell II who went 2-for-5 with an RBI and Knowles who was 2-for-3.
Clark Atlanta was led by Raphael Andrades 3-for-3 with two RBIs.