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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Delaware State baseball lone HBCU team in Northeast Conference tournament play


The Delaware State baseball team has used hot bats and timely pitching to extend head coach J.P. Blandin’s final season into the Northeast Conference baseball tournament.

The tournament begins Wednesday at 3 p.m. with the 5th-seeded Hornets taking on No. 4 Wagner at Heritage Financial Ballpark in Wappinger Falls, New York.

Blandin announced his retirement in late March, effective at the end of the season. He has won over 500 career games and six Northern Division championships before the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s discontinuation of baseball.

Blandin’s Hornets and Sherman Reed’s Coppin State Eagles played in the final MEAC championship series in 2022 before those two teams, Maryland-Eastern Shore and Norfolk State, joined the NEC as associate members.

This year’s DSU baseball team sits at 22-25 with a 20-13 conference record, good enough for fifth place. The top six teams in the 12-team NEC earn sports in the conference tournament. The Hornets are led by brothers Evan and Krew Bouldin.

Krew, a 6-foot-2, 230-pound. senior infielder, leads DSU with 52 RBI and tied with Chris Amparo for the team lead in home runs at 11.

Evan, a sophomore infielder and pitcher, leads the team in batting average at .378, leading the Hornet relievers with four saves.

The starting pitching staff is led by sophomore Kieran Etwaru, who is 7-0 with a 3.36 earned run average. Jack Messmore has also pitched well, leading the team in strikeouts (73) and having pitched the most innings (72 1/3).

Late Tuesday, the Hornets received another shot of good news as four players made the all-Northeast Conference team – Evan Bouldin was named conference player of the year, Etwaru was named pitcher of the year, Krew Bouldin was named to the second team at first base and Jancarlos Colon was first-team all NEC at shortstop

The Northeast Conference tournament is double elimination, with the top two seeds earning a first-round bye, while the fourth and fifth seeds and the third and sixth seeds play in the opener. The higher seed of Wednesday’s winners will play No. 2 Long Island University on Thursday, while the lower winner will play regular season champion Sacred Heart.

 



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