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Hornets Sweep Alabama A&M, Win East Title

The Alabama State baseball team won the Southwestern Athletic Conference Eastern Division title with a doubleheader sweep of Alabama A&M Saturday at the Wheeler-Watkins Baseball Complex.

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Mervyl Melendez


Head Coach

On June 16th, 2011 Mervyl Melendez accepted the position of Head Baseball Coach at Alabama State University, an NCAA Division I institution. Melendez became the fourth Head Baseball Coach in ASU history. "I am excited to begin this new stage in my career at Alabama State University", said Melendez. "I am looking forward to taking the ASU baseball program to new heights of national prominence and competing for National Championships every year" added Melendez. Before accepting the job at ASU, Melendez was the Head Baseball Coach at Bethune-Cookman University for 12 seasons. During his tenure Melendez guided the Wildcats to 11 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Titles as well as 11 NCAA Tournament Appearances in 12 years at the helm of BCU. Melendez has earned MEAC Coach of the Year awards in 2000, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 and has had several Rookie and Player of the Year student-athletes cross his coaching path for the Wildcats program. Recently, freshman RHP Scott Garner was named MEAC Rookie of the Year and Pitcher of the Year in 2011. Louisville Slugger also named Garner to the Freshman All-American Team. Following the 2009 season, Melendez had freshman pitcher Ali Simpson and catcher Peter O'Brien named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team. Following the 2010 season, Peter O'Brien earned a sport on Team USA and led the team in homeruns for the summer. In the summer of 2005, he saw his first collegiate player suit up and take the mound in the MLB (Major League Baseball) for the Detroit Tigers. That player was former Wildcat starting pitcher Mark Woodyard. Currently, he has 12 more up-and-coming minor leaguers getting ready for a shot at the MLB ranks in the form of infielder Wes Timmons, outfielder Angel Mercado, pitcher Mumba Rivera, pitcher Richard "R.J." Rodriguez, infielder Jose Lozada, pitcher Eric Thomas, pitcher Hiram Burgos, pitcher Juan Perez, pitcher Julio Morales, and catcher Peter O'Brien. Although there have been several of his players drafted by major league teams, Melendez is most proud of the commitment his players make to academics. His team earned a GPA of 3.17 this past fall and has maintained a GPA of 3.0 over the last 2 years. "I am proud of the commitment and dedication that the players have made to academics and that shows that we are attracting the right type of student-athlete to Bethune-Cookman University; one who is committed to everything he does," adds Melendez. As a player at Bethune-Cookman, Melendez was a third baseman and relief pitcher; he finished his collegiate career as the all-time leader in doubles (30) and a batting average of .342. These accolades, and more, would allow him to be named to both the 1995 and 1996 MEAC Team, as well as All-MEAC Tournament Team in both years.

Jose Vazquez


Assistant Coach

In his tenth season on the coaching staff Jose was promoted in 2010 to Associate Head Coach/Recruiting Coordinator for the Wildcats Baseball program. José Vázquez has been a part of the Bethune-Cookman Baseball family since arriving at B-CU as a junior college transfer in 2002. Vazquez has now joined Head Coach Mervyl Melendez at Alabama State University.

Though playing for only his senior season (2002), Vázquez earned All-MEAC (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) honors as a catcher for the `Cats. Shortly after that, he joined the B-CU coaching staff first as a student-assistant coach in 2003 before joining the staff full-time as an assistant coach right after graduation from the program under head coach Mervyl Melendez in 2003. "José is a very dedicated coach who loves the game of baseball; he is a great communicator and a good teacher of the game," comments B-CU head coach Mervyl Melendez. ??A native of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Vázquez coaches the hitters and catchers for the Wildcats program, as well as coaching third base. In addition to the day-to-day duties of the baseball office, Vázquez also serves as coordinator for summer and winter skill & development camps hosted by Bethune-Cookman. "He is a coach that you will essentially have to tell to stop at times because he will work and work and work ... because he loves the game and kids so much," continued Melendez. "He brings a lot of dedication and love for the kids and the game of baseball to this program. He was a very mature student-athlete while playing for us, and that's why I added him to this staff. He just has a lot to bring to the program." ??During the 2002 season, Vázquez was the starting catcher on the Bethune-Cookman squad that not only posted the best record in school history (39-22), but also registered the only NCAA Regional victory against Florida International. During the summer of 2006, Vázquez served as head coach for the Monroe ChannelCats of the Southern Collegiate Baseball League in Monroe, North Carolina. José Vázquez and his wife, the former Jana Swanson, married in 2002. Together, they have two beautiful girls, Liana (5), and Elaisa (3).

Drew Clark


Assistant Coach

Clark was a three-year starting catcher for the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats under head coach Mervyl Melendez in 2006-2009.

He helped lead the Wildcats to four straight MEAC Championships and NCAA Regional births.

In 2010 he joined the B-CU coaching staff, working with the position player's strength and conditioning, and hitting. Clark has recently accepted the position as assistant coach at Alabama State University.

Matt Crane


Assistant Coach

Crane spent his first two seasons as a starter and reliever for Kellogg Community College. In 2007, he was captain of a team that finished second in the NJCAA World Series in Millington, Tennessee with a record of 45-17.

Crane finished his junior college career with 34 appearances, which included 4 starts and an ERA of 3.12. He then finished his playing career at Bethune-Cookman University as a relief pitcher for Head Coach Mervyl Melendez.

Following his career for the wildcats, Crane joined the Bethune-Cookman University staff as the pitching coach. In his first full season as pitching coach, Crane was able to lower the team ERA from 5.34 in 2010 to 4.46 in 2011. Crane also helped several of his pitchers earn awards throughout the 2011 season. Freshman RHP Scott Garner earned MEAC Pitcher of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors. Garner was also named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American Team following the 2011 season. Furthermore, Crane's pitchers earned MEAC or Black College Baseball Pitcher of the Week honors 8 times in the 2011 season. Following the 2011 season, RHP Julio Morales was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. His staff finished first in the conference in ERA, wins, saves, and strikeouts. Crane has now joined Head Coach Mervyl Melendez at Alabama State University as the pitching coach and camp coordinator.

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