BECKLEY — West Virginia State University stormed back from the losers bracket and defeated Concord twice to win the Mountain East Conference baseball tournament title Sunday at Linda K. Epling Field.
With the win, the Yellow Jackets (32-8) earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II tournament. Seeding will be determined during the selection show on May 23.
The University of Charleston, which will be hosting the Atlantic Regional, is also likely to receive a bid.
The Yellow Jackets entered the day with their backs against the wall, as Concord (18-23) only had to win one of two games to claim the title. However, WVSU won the first game 9-3 and forced a second game, which the Yellow Jackets also won by a score of 9-3.
In the first game, the Yellow Jackets took a 1-0 first-inning lead that was erased as the Mountain Lions scored two in the first and one in the second. The score remained 3-1 until the sixth inning, when West Virginia State tied the game at 3. Then, in the seventh, the Yellow Jackets blew the game open with back-to-back home runs — a Matt Harrison three-run shot and an Andrew Stone solo blast.
Harrison went 3 for 5 with three RBIs and Stone was 2 for 5 with two RBIs. Designated hitter Matthew Kline contributed with two hits and three RBIs.
Jacob Bradley earned the win, moving to 7-2 on the season. He tossed six innings of relief, fanning six and allowing no earned runs while scattering two walks.
The Yellow Jackets added two runs in the ninth to take momentum into the winner-take-all second game.
The Yellow Jackets took a 1-0 lead in the third inning and the Mountain Lions equaled the score with a run in the top of the sixth. In the bottom of the frame, West Virginia State exploded for five runs. Stone started the scoring with a solo home run, his second of the day. Then Trey Junkins singled, Jared Hunt was hit by a pitch and Andrew Massey singled to drive in Junkins. After another RBI single by Brett Christian, Michael Stone hit a two-run triple to make the score 6-1. The Yellow Jackets added three insurance runs in the seventh and held off the Mountain Lions for the title.
Andrew Stone and Michael Stone combined for 10 hits on the day. West Virginia State pitcher Ethan Lauchart pitched five innings in the nightcap with no earned runs, no walks and three strikeouts. Clark Reese earned the win and Trent Abernathy got the loss.