CARY, NC – Winston-Salem State pounded out 16 hits, and got a home run from Landon Steiner late, as the Rams took a 6-2 win over the Virginia State Trojans in the opening round of the 2016 CIAA Baseball Championship, held at the USA Baseball national Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.
With the win, WSSU moves to 28-19, and advances to the semi-final round on Friday. Virginia State falls to 8-30, and into the losers bracket.
The WSSU were able to strike first, with a run in the second inning. Orlando Cannon was able to get a pitch to hit, and drove it to the outfield for a rbi single, scoring Randy Norris, to give the Rams a 1-0 lead.
Virginia State was able to answer in the top of the fourth, when the Trojans took advantage of WSSU's inability to throw strikes. The Rams walked two VSU base runners in, allowing the Trojans to go out in front, 2-1.
Winston-Salem State would tie the game in the bottom half of the fourth, when Orlando Cannon led off with a single, followed by a Willie McRae single that moved Cannon to third on the play. Jason Baytop would pick up the run batted in, on a sacrifice fly to center field, to knot the game at 2-2.
The game would remain tied until the bottom of the seventh, when with two outs, Randy Norris singled to right, and Michael McNamara singled past the shortstop. orlando Cannon would come up with the first big hit for WSSU, with a single to left center, scoring Randy Norris and giving WSSU a 3-2 lead.
The Rams would slam the door in the eighth, with an rbi double from Nathan Steger, that scored Emilio Abreu. And Landon Steiner would put the nail in the coffin, with a two run home run to left center field, that also brought home Nathan Steger to give the Rams a 6-2 advantage.
Kanoa Hironaka would sit the Trojans down in order, to give the Rams the 6-2 win.
Hironaka picked up the win for WSSU out of the bullpen, going 5.1 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit with four strikeouts. Nathan Steger pitched 3.2 innings, allowing two runs on two hits, with three walks and two strikeouts.
Orlando Cannon went 3 for 4 with a run scored and two runs batted in, and Landon Steiner went 2 for 4 with a run scored and two runs batted in. Randy Norris finished 3 for 5 with two runs scored, and Jason Baytop went 2 for 3 with a run batted in. Willie McRae finished 2 for 4, Emilio Abreu went 1 for 2 with a run scored, and Nathan Steger, Ivan Acuna dn Michael McNamara each went 1 for 5. Steger added a run scored and a run batted in.
The semifinal round of the 2016 CIAA Baseball Championship will begin tomorrow, April 29th at 12:00 p.m. when the Winston-Salem State Rams take on the Saint Augustine's Falcons. The losing team of the contest will turnaround to play Chowan at 3:00 p.m.
You can follow the WSSU Rams baseball action on the WSSU Rams Sports Network at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/wssu-rams-sports-network.