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Bethune-Cookman, Texas Southern punch tickets for NCAA baseball tournament

The Wildcats win their second straight title; Tigers beat defending SWAC champion for their second title in three years

The results are in for fans of historically black college baseball. On May 20 and 21, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) champions were crowned and received automatic bids to the NCAA tournament.

bethune-cookman routs norfolk state 11-1

For the second straight season and the third time in four years, Bethune-Cookman is the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) baseball champion. Saturday afternoon at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, Maryland, the Wildcats eviscerated Norfolk State 11-1 in only seven innings of work as a result of the 10-run rule.

The matchup was a contest of the MEAC’s top divisional seeds. The two teams have a ton of history over the past five years, with each of Bethune-Cookman’s MEAC title victories coming against the Spartans. The Wildcats now have 18 conference championships.

Norfolk State needed two wins to nab its first MEAC championship after working through the losers’ bracket. Spartans pitcher Brian Beard helped the Northern Division champs draw first blood with a double. Beard advanced to third after a failed pickoff attempt and scored after a sacrifice fly by Alex Mauricio.

After that, it was all Bethune-Cookman. The Southern Division winners responded with three runs in the bottom of the first, four in the second and two more in the third.

After the first inning, the Spartans didn’t have a runner reach second and managed only four hits the entire game. On the mound, Beard allowed 12 hits and nine runs in four innings.

texas southern wins a 4-2 nail-biter against Alabama State

The SWAC championship game was far more competitive. It took two runs in the top of the 13th inning and a stout defensive effort by Texas Southern to determine the victor Sunday afternoon in New Orleans.

With a 4-2 win over defending SWAC champion Alabama State, the Tigers won their second championship in three years and received the automatic bid for the NCAA tournament.

Gerrick Jimenez was the difference-maker. He had only two at-bats the whole postseason and was inserted into the game as a defensive substitution. But he stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and brought in the winning runs with a single.

Four players from Texas Southern were named to the all-tournament team: Michael Villanueva, Anthony Martinez, Christian Sanchez and Gaudencio Lucca. Villanueva, a freshman, allowed two hits, two walks and three strikeouts in six shutout innings of work.

Alabama State also had four players on the all-tournament team: Austin Bizzle, Tyler Howe, Joseph Estrada and Ray Hernandez.

Rhiannon Walker is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a drinker of Sassy Cow Creamery chocolate milk, an owner of an extensive Disney VHS collection, and she might have a heart attack if Frank Ocean doesn't drop his second album.