Delta State University’s baseball team is hosting the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament which begins Thursday as the top seed and second-ranked Statesmen meet No. 7 Embry-Riddle of Little Rock, Ar. after the No. 3 seed Eckerd versus No. 6 Valdosta contest at 3:30 p.m.
“It feels good to be playing in the postseason and to be at home so our fans can watch us play,” said Delta State second baseman Jake Barlow of Delta State. “We’re playing well as a team. I’m going in trying not to put too much pressure on myself. We don’t know a lot about Embry-Riddle, but we just need to go in and play our game. It’s fun to still be playing.”
Sunday’s announcement marked the first time since 2017 and the 12th time overall that DSU has served as a host site for NCAA postseason play.
Barlow was named to the All-Gulf South Conference first team earlier this month. The 5-foot-8 redshirt sophomore, led all second basemen in the GSC in offensive production this season. The Monterey native hit .339 during the regular season with 12 doubles, five triples, nine home runs and 46 RBIs.
He started all 45 games for the Statesmen at second base, collecting 57 hits in 168 at-bats and scoring 37 runs.
Barlow’s name is scattered across the GSC statistical leaderboard, ranking 1st in triples (5), 4th in slugging (.631), 8th hits (57), 4th in RBIs (46), and 5th in home runs (9).
“I really never thought about making it, but it’s cool,” Barlow said. “Once I figured out how pitcher’s were going to pitch me I knew if I got a fastball I couldn’t miss it. I try to work the count. A lot of it is mental. I try to keep a level head and if I have a bad at-bat I try not to let it get to me.”
After the Gulf South Conference Tournament, Barlow is hitting .33 and is second on the team in doubles (13) and leads the team in home runs (11) and triples (5).
Delta State advanced to the finals of the Gulf South Conference Tournament Tuesday by defeating Valdosta.
Delta State defeated West Florida 6-0 in the championship game, scoring five runs in the eighth inning.
“I knew we needed to score some runs,” Barlow said. “I knew the team that didn’t have to go to its bullpen first had the best chance to win.”
Barlow said winning the first game is always important in a tournament.
“But we’re going in to win every game,” he said.
If Delta State wins Thursday they will play the winner of the Eckard-Valdosta game Friday at noon. The tournament finals will be Saturday.