The Grambling State University Tigers are in a fight for the top seed in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Over the weekend, they took on No. 1 Southern University, going 2-1 against the Jaguars, with Sunday’s game putting an end to the Tigers eight-game winning streak. The Tigers suffered a second loss when they took on fifth-ranked the University of Arkansas on Tuesday.
Friday, April 26: GSU vs SU, Game 1
GSU continued its hot streak, with a 12-0 victory against SU in the SWAC series opener on Friday. GSU notched five runs on three hits to take an early lead in the first inning. Drexler Macaay hit a 2-2 pitch deep over the fence for a two-run homer. Infielder Garrett Smith stuck a 1-0 pitch over the left field wall for a three-run home run.
Keeping the momentum, outfielder Warren Laster, added to the lead with six runs in the third inning. Rafael Ramirez III made a walk to begin the next inning, and the moved to second as utility Kevin Whitaker Jr., base hit to the left field.
Jahmoi Percival loaded the bases with a bunt single while Smith walked to bring in Ramirez. Smith, Percival and Whitaker continued scoring as Laster ran and came across for the inside the park home run in the third inning.
The inning continued when Isaiah Torres singled through the right side to plate Wheeler from third bringing the score to 11-0 and the next inning resulted in Percival hitting an RBI double, advancing the score to 12-0.
Pitcher Bryan Delgado earned his 6th victory by striking out 7 batters and shutting out Southern in game one.
Saturday, April 27: GSU vs SU, Game 2
GSU kicked off the game taking the lead with four runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Kevin Whitaker Jr., hit a pitch off the left center fence to bring home Torres and Richard Ortiz. The inning continued with Jahmoi Percival hitting base to right center to score.
The Tigers took a 4-0 lead when Smith walked and Laster followed with a base hit up the middle to plate Percival. The Jaguars responded by three walks and a hit batter in the top of the second bringing the score to 4-3. But GSU came back with 3 runs in the bottom of the frame.
With one out, Ramirez, singled to center and loaded the bases. While Whitaker drew a walk, bringing in Torres and Percival singled to center to plate Macaay and Ramirez to advance the Tigers lead to 7-3.
The score increased to 7-5 as the Jaguars kept the fighting spirit, scoring a pair of runs in the third inning. In the bottom of the inning, Nick Wheeler led with a base hit and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ramirez extending the Tigers lead to 8-5.
To begin the fourth inning, Percival, Smith and Laster walked to load the bases and scored another run. The game was put away in the fifth inning with seven runs on five hits, which was highlighted by a three-run home run by Percival and a grand slam by outfielder, Ian Bailey.
The frame opened up with Percival hammering a 2-2 pitch over the right field wall for a three-run homer.
Bailey, pinched hitting for Ortiz, on a 3-2 pitch and struck over the left field wall for the grand slam to give the Tigers a dominating 16-5 lead. The Jaguars tried keeping up, scoring three runs in the top of the sixth inning to bring the total to 16-8.
The game continued with GSU scoring three runs in the bottom of the frame. SU picked up two runs in the seventh inning and six more runs in the eighth inning to bridge the gap to 19-16.
The Tigers secured the victory in the bottom of the eighth inning as an error on the play allowed Torres to score as GSU finished with a score of 21-16.
Out of the four pitchers needed to hold off the hot hitting jaguars, Kerry Boykins, Jr. earned the victory with a team high three strikeouts.
Sunday, April 28th – GSU vs SU, Game 3
The Tigers came into Senior Day with an eight-game winning steak and played hard but ultimately fell to the Jaguars.
Southern started off with a solo home run off lead-off batter Tyler LaPorte, grabbing a 1-0 in the top of the first inning. Ramirez responded by hitting a home run at the end of the first inning to tie the game.
Due to an error in the second inning, the Jaguars took full advantage, hitting eight runs. They advanced to an 11-1 lead, after plating two runs in the third inning.
The Jaguars stuck a consecutive two-run homer in the sixth inning by Willie Ward and the other two-run homer was hit by LaPorte in the seventh inning to give them a 15-1 lead.
GSU Tigers scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, but it wasn’t enough to best the SU Jaguars, as the series ended with the score of 15-3 in favor of the Jaguars.
The Jaguars held Grambling to just 3 runs and secured their position atop the SWAC standings with the win.
Tuesday, April 30: GSU vs #5 Arkansas
The Grambling State Tigers baseball team finished with three runs on six hits and left 13 on base, as the fifth-ranked University of Arkansas Razorbacks, secured a 17-3 victory on Tuesday night at Dickey-Stephens Park.
The Tigers were not able to bounce back from a Razorback bottom half first inning, as Tigers pitcher D’Quan Matthews started on the mound and could not survive. He walked three and hit one batter as the Hogs exploded for six runs to the Tigers one.
GSU loaded the bases in the top half of the fifth inning and came away with one run again.
Grambling State (23-21), lost its second game in a row, after going on a season best eight-game winning streak.
Macaay led the Tiger offense with a pair of hits and one run scored.
The Tigers continue to seek its first win over an SEC program during the James Cooper era.
Grambling State concludes the regular season with a three-game non-conference series at Northwestern State on May 3rd. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Brown-Stroud Field in Natchitoches, La.
GSU will also travel to New Orleans for the SWAC on May 15.
Contributing writers Que Robinson and Khalifah Muhammad and Sports Editor Joshua Bell contributed to this report.