MONTGOMERY, Ala. Delta State head coach Bill Marchant couldn't hide his emotions after his team survived a four-run rally to beat Tampa 11-10 and stay alive in the NCAA Division II College World Series.
"I was about to have a heart attack or throw up," said the blunt Marchant.
You can breath now, coach. The Statesmen play at 7 p.m. today against Kennesaw State at Paterson Field. They must beat Kennesaw today and Friday to qualify for Saturday's championship game.
DSU first baseman Spencer Holman was still shaking after Tampa came back from an 11-6 deficit and had the tying and winning runs on base before the Statesmen rapped up win No. 53 against seven losses.
"I am still scared, because we are in the loser's bracket and we can't lose anymore," Holman said. "Hopefully, this will be a wakeup call."
Holman provided the wakeup call to bring Delta State back in the first inning. The Statesmen were down 3-0 when Holman hit his second home run in as many days to bring in catcher Jason Page.
DSU took a 5-3 lead in the third inning. Page singled in Rodney Batts. A Casey Myrick double scored Page before the final run came in on a fielder's choice.
All this came off Tampa's No. 1 starter, Ricky Burton, who entered the game 14-1 with a 1.70 ERA. That ERA will be higher after giving up eight earned runs on 10 hits in three innings.
"I didn't have anywhere near my best stuff," Burton, the losing pitcher, said.
Neither did the next two pitchers, Alex Tzelepis and Keith LaBrecque, Tampa used. They both were knocked out before the inning ended. Delta State scored five runs in the fourth inning.
Holman, who went 2-for-5 with four RBI, drove in Batts and Heath Bailey for the blow that appeared to have finished things in front of 574 fans.
Besides the hefty sticks DSU also got some great defense, including throwing out three Tampa Spartans at the plate.
"Those were all bang-bang plays, so I can live with that," said Tampa head coach Terry Rupp, whose team falls to 45-16 and out of the tournament. "Delta made great plays and we took chances."
Bailey homered in the seventh to right field for what appeared to be a comfortable 11-6 advantage.
DSU had to use three pitchers, including ace Dave Townsend, before putting Tampa away. Townsend got Brad Wakefield to fly out to right field for the save.
"We are going to have to get some innings out of unlikely guys against Kennesaw State," Marcahnt said. "This time of year you just reach back."
Delta State 11, Tampa 10
Tampa 300 030 004 10 20 1
Delta State 203 500 10x 11 16 1
WP - Jeremy McClain (12-2). LP - Ricky Burton (14-2). Multiple Hits - (T) Eric Sims 2, Evan Satinoff 2, Erick Mirza 3, John Pestalozzi 3, Ryan Lichtenfels 3; (D) Heath Bailey 3, Rodney Battts 2, Jason Page 2, Spencer Holman 2, Casey Myrick 2, Jeremy Dixon 2; 2B - (T) Lichtenfels, Mirza, Pestalozzi, Satinoff, Ussery, Vargo, Wakefield; (D) Batts, Holman, Myrick; HR - (D) Bailey, Holman. Records: Tampa 45-16, Delta State 53-7.