A rain delay suspended play Sunday afternoon between Grambling State University (19-19, 12-5 SWAC) and Texas Southern University (16-19, 10-10 SWAC) at MacGregor Park. TSU led 3-0 in the sixth when the game was called. Game three of the three-game weekend series will be continued later in the season. No date has been set.
The series is tied at 1-1. Grambling State won the Friday (April 22) game 3-2 with a eight strikeout performance by pitcher Issac O’Bear. O’Bear (7-2) has 50 strikeouts on the season and is tied for first place in the Southwestern Athletic Conference for wins.
TSU took the Saturday April 23 game, 5-2. GSU pitcher Tanner Raiburn contributed five strikeouts in just as many innings. “The biggest difference in the two game was we didn’t have enough offense,” GSU baseball coach James Cooper said as the team headed back to Grambling.
“We barely had enough offense to win game one — and we won 3-2 — to go along with a great pitching performance of Issac O’Bear.”
It was all Texas Southern through six innings Sunday April 24. A 2-0 third inning lead stretched to 3-0 in the fourth inning. As the rain started to pour in the fifth inning, Grambling State picked up team play in the sixth inning.
Shortstop Wesley Drain stepped to the plate and exhibited his eye for great pitch selection, refusing to swing at junk. Drain patiently waited for his pitch but received four balls and walked. Drain and center fielder Angel Peguero are now tied at second in the SWAC with 30 walks. With one out, the SWAC’s best hitter, third basemen Daniel Barnett, provided a spark for Grambling State, drilling a pitch for a double and advancing Drain to third.
Barnett leads the SWAC in doubles with 14, the conference with 60 hits and has a batting average of .415 on the season, second in the conference. Cooper was disappointed that his team did not pull off a series victory, but he’s looking forward to prepping for the next challenge.
“We are hoping it’s dry when we get back home,” said Cooper, “so we can get a chance to take more batting practice outside on the field. The rainy weather that came through last week really handicapped our offense if you look at the way we’ve been swinging the bat these last few games.” Grambling State hosts Alcorn State University Tuesday April 26 at 6 p.m. at GSU’s Wilbert Ellis Field.
After two losses against TSU and with the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff having a successful weekend, GSU has fallen to second in the SWAC West. Cooper is determined to get his team back into the race for first and the division title as they prepare for the last few regular season games and then the SWAC baseball tournament starting May 18. vv
“It’s very important to get the number one seed going into the tournament,” said Cooper. “It puts you at an advantage to play one of the weaker teams for the other side. As the one seed you’re facing the four seed. When you look at the history of champions in the conference, the majority of the teams that finish with the one seed, those are the majority of the teams to win the SWAC championship.”