The 2023 Black College World Series was underway on Wednesday in Birmingham, Alabama, with four games featuring eight HBCU baseball teams on the slate. Below is a Day 1 recap of the matchups.
D-II Bracket Game 1, Albany State 3, Edward Waters 2
Albany State defeated Edward Waters 3-2 in the first game of the Division II bracket.
Edward Waters took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning on Daiton Pass’s sacrifice fly, bringing Leonel Garcia home. The Golden Rams would knot the game at 1 in the bottom of the fifth on Pierre Thomas’ RBI single. The Tigers reclaimed the lead in the top of the very next inning with a single that scored Garcia for the second time on the afternoon. Albany State knotted the game back at two in the bottom of the 6th, aided by a Tigers throwing error that allowed Hill Corley to reach base and ultimately score on a Quintard Wright single. After loading the bases in the bottom, Austin Roberts’ RBI single brought home the game-deciding run.
Albany State will face Bluefield State Thursday at 4 PM in the winner’s semifinals.
NAIA Game 1: Florida Memorial 7, Rust College 4
In Game 2 of the day, the No.1 seed in the NAIA bracket, Rust College was upset by Florida Memorial 7-4. The contest started largely as a pitcher’s duel, with Florida Memorial only generating one run and four hits through the first six innings and Rust limited to a pair of hits and scoring just a single run. Rust took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh when Ja’Shaun Franks’ sacrifice brought home Khalil Robinson.
Florida Memorial broke the game open with a 6-run eighth inning that came via a pair of home runs, a grand slam from Gabriel Martinez, and a two-run shot off the bat of Genesis Nunez, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 7-2 lead.
Rust scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth, needing only one hit to do so, as Florida Memorial contributed to the Rust cause by committing two errors.
After a lead-off single by Robinson in the bottom of the ninth, Jamal Johnson was able to slam the door on the Bearcats, striking out Stone Teague and Franks and then enduring a game-ending ground out from Jalik DeMar.
Florida Memorial will face Paine College in a 7:30 matchup Thursday evening.
D-II Bracket Game 2: Bluefield State 13, Savannah State 9
Bluefield State was able to weather a big second inning from Savannah State to defeat the Tigers 13-9 in the day’s third game.
Savannah State scored on a passed ball, a bases-loaded walk, and then a base-clearing triple from Jaden Oden- all with two outs, that put the Tigers up 5-2. Runs in the third and fifth innings put Savannah State up 9-6 after six innings of play.
Bluefield State rallied, scoring six runs in the last three innings to pull ahead for good, securing the win.
The Big Blue moves on to the semi-finals where the no.1 seed in the D-II bracket Albany State awaits them. Savannah State will face Edward Waters in Round 1 of the loser’s bracket Thursday at 9 am.
NAIA Bracket Game 2: Paine College 9, Wiley College 5
In the final game of the evening, Paine College defeated Wiley College 9-5. Paine scored 4 runs in the fourth inning, tacking on additional runs in the fifth and sixth inning to build a 6-0 lead. The Wildcats finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth, getting five consecutive hits to plate three runs. Paine tried to rally in the bottom of the ninth scoring two runs, but the attempted comeback fell short.
Lions hurler Hunter Justice went the distance, allowing five runs,12 hits, and striking out 12 Wildcat batters.
Paine moves on to face Florida Memorial in the semifinals of the NAIA bracket. Wiley College has been sent to the loser’s bracket where they will face no.1 seed Rust College Thursday at 12:30 pm.