Fighting against the uncertainty of both the weather and the baseball diamond, Texas Southern overcome both obstacles and won a doubleheader over Huston-Tillotson Tuesday at MacGregor Park.
Through their veritable offense, the Tigers overwhelmed the Rams with their double-digit numbers in scoring and hitting while simultaneously holding them to a total of eight hits across the day.
The team collected 22 hits and 30 runs today against Huston-Tillotson. The last time the Tigers (7-12, 4-2) scored more than 30 times against the Rams (8-13-1, 2-4) was in 2012 when they put up 48. They won the first game 29-4 and the second 19-4 respectively. Including their pair of wins against Grambling State, the Tigers are now holders of a four-game winning streak.
Second baseman and leadoff hitter Tyrese Clayborne recorded multiple hits in both games along with two runs, one RBI and a stolen base. Supporting him was designated hitter Dean Salazar and left fielder Roderick Coffee with their five home runs against the Rams (Salazar hit two whereas Coffee hit three).
TEXAS SOUTHERN 13, HUSTON-TILLOTSON 2
A seven-run third inning put the game out of reach as TSU run-ruled HTU 13-2 in the opener.
The first game of the double-header began with both teams scoring two runs in the second inning. In the top half, the Rams went ahead due to an error by TSU which allowed the runner at second to reach home. Immediately after, Huston-Tillotson’s right fielder Ryan Randle drew an RBI base hit to continue its threat. The Tigers promptly responded to the Rams’ push with one of their own after a 2-run homer by Coffee to restore the tie.
Though the Rams again threatened to go ahead as the game continued, the Tigers made sure to keep them at bay while at the same time seizing the issue for their own advantage. This sentiment was put into motion in the bottom of the third inning when the Tigers scored seven runs as they batted around the order which was highlighted by Ponce’s 2-RBI single and a home run by Salazar to left field.
In the fifth, the Tigers scored four more runs to grow their lead to 11 and end the game via the mercy rule. Through Ponce’s second RBI base hit, Ruben Alcala’s sacrifice fly to left, and Michael Goudeau’s walk-off 2-RBI double, the team enjoyed an inundation of momentum heading into the second part of the doubleheader.
Starter Camden Guarnere went the whole distance in the first game as he allowed only three hits, two runs—none of which were earned—a walk and three strikeouts in his five innings of work.
TEXAS SOUTHERN 17, HUSTON-TILLOTSON 9
TSU had to work harder in game two as they overcame a pair of deficits to roar back and win 17-9.
As high as the Tigers’ expectations were of winning the second game in an equal manner, the Rams made due to quickly bring their senses back to reality with their grand slam to left by right fielder Devaun Anderson which led to an early pitching change in the first. Later on in the second frame, the Rams increased their lead to 5-0 after an RBI single from two-hole batter Noah Fletcher.
Forced to step up earlier than normal in relief, A.J. Winger took advantage of the opportunity and lasted five innings and allowed two hits, three runs—one earned—and three walks. He punched six batters out as well in his relief appearance.
Texas Southern slowly organized their comeback in the bottom half of the first as, after two straight hit-by-pitches by Rams starter Adam Ivy, Clayborne mashed an RBI single to short and sent runner Victor Cruz home for a 5-1 score. The Tigers soon shortened the deficit to three from Alcala’s own RBI base hit on a full-count pitch.
The fourth inning marked the Tigers’ sudden cutting off of their brakes as they scored six to take the lead 8-5 by its end. A Clayborne single, Ponce sac fly, Salazar 3-run home run and a Coffee solo blast were collectively responsible for their team’s turnaround.
Huston-Tillotson fought back by scoring four runs for a 9-8 edge in the top of the sixth. Taking firm account of the situation amid Huston-Tillotson’s valiant resistance, the Tigers scored again the sixth via Coffee’s second homer of the game to restore their lead at 11-9.
And it was after that frame where the Tigers sealed their advantage through to the end of the contest as their six runs in the last two innings of offense put the Rams to bed after initially forming a tight struggle. Cooper’s second hit and subsequent error by the opposing shortstop allowed Jordan Vidato to score, Victor Bueno’s reach on another error by the second baseman, and Victor Cruz’s 3-run homer encompassed Texas Southern’s last push in the game.
Succeeding Winger in the mound were Alex Olguin, Paul Kindervater and Robert Loza. Olguin entered in the top of the sixth while the Rams threatened again to retake the advantage and eventually ended it after giving up two hits and runs each. Kindervater threw for two innings (sixth and seventh) and forced two strikeouts. Loza closed the game in the ninth in 1-2-3 fashion, giving his team the win and series victory.
Ponce, who came in today with a 7-game hitting streak, was close to losing it after failing to notch a hit after four at bats. Fortunately, in the bottom of the eighth, he hit a single down the left field line to continue his impressive streak for at least another day.
The Tigers will face the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley for a three-game set in Edinburg, Texas on March 13 at 7 p.m. Following the initial game, assuming no advisories, both sides will play the second at 6 p.m. on Saturday and the third on Sunday.