GRAMBLING, La. – Oscar Ponce finished 4-for-5 with four RBI and three runs scored as TSU evened the series with an 11-4 win at Grambling State Saturday afternoon.
After falling by 11 runs in yesterday’s contest, TSU (4-12, 3-2) responded at an inverse fashion, turning around their bats and arms to keep Grambling (6-8, 1-1) at bay for the nine innings.
It was a career day for Ponce as his 4-for-5 outing featured two singles, a double and a solo home run, all of them for a total of four RBI. He scored three runs as well in his effort.
In addition to Ponce, second baseman Tyrese Clayborne and shortstop Justin Cooper went for multiple hits for TSU. Clayborne went 2-for-4 and scored three runs whereas Cooper, in his own 2-for-3 performance, scored twice, batted in one runner and forced a couple of walks. Victor Bueno and Charles Robinson pitched in with a pair of three-run home runs for the Tigers. Robinson contributed with two RBIs from his triple early in the first.
Pitcher Noe Guerrero III pitched four innings with three strikeouts in his winning start against Grambling. After a rough fourth inning where he surrendered four runs, he was relieved by Michael Villanueva, who allowed just one hit with five strikeouts in his first appearance of 2020.
TSU went ahead in a hurry in the first by a Ponce RBI single to left field. Soon thereafter, Robinson chipped in with a 2-RBI triple which was aided by an error from Grambling’s third baseman for a 4-0 start. In the second inning, Ponce drove home his second RBI, this time a double to right, and allowed Clayborne to reach home for a 5-0 score.
The bottom of the fourth saw Grambling muster a ferocious comeback as they put four runs on the board to get within 5-4. This minimal lead would continue for two innings until the seventh where a Cooper sacrifice fly and a Ponce solo shot added much-needed breathing room for the visitors to make it a 7-4 game in their favor.
The ninth inning saw a repeat of the first as TSU scored four runs to lock up the win and tie the series at 1-1. Ponce added his fourth RBI-hit of the game to increase the lead which allowed Bueno to put the final nail on the coffin with his 3-run home run to right for an 11-4 final.
Texas Southern and Grambling State will play the rubber match tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. as Jacob Morin is projected to start.