In an overcast day which was clouded with constant wind breezes and drizzles, the Texas Southern Tiger baseball team dropped the finale of their SWAC series opener as Arkansas-Pine Bluff overcame an early deficit to win 10-5.
The Tigers were looking to sweep the Lions at one place for the first time since the 2012 season when they did it at home. Early on, it was all TSU in the beginning.
The game began with TSU starter Jacob Morin in complete control as he shut the visitors out to just four hits in the first four innings. In the meantime, the Tigers went ahead in the bottom of the third inning after they scored three runs on a Justin Cooper RBI single, a Pine Bluff fielding error by the left fielder, and an RBI groundout to third base by Nic Garza.
In the fifth, Pine Bluff woke up and responded with two runs of their own thanks to a 2-RBI single that was critically preceded by a hit-by-pitch and a couple of walks from Morin. After the play, Morin was switched out by manager Michael Robertson, making way for Camden Guarnere to step in and end the Lions’ looming threat. In the bottom half of the same inning, Ponce hit a 2-RBI single, allowing Cooper and Garza to reach home, restoring the Tigers’ advantage to three runs for a 5-2 score.
However, Pine Bluff scored seven combined runs in the sixth and seventh inning respectively. Within that time, three Tiger relievers were sent to the mound to stop the Lions’ momentum, but each person eventually allowed at least one run in their appearances.
The Lions added to their run count on a ninth inning RBI double to make it 10-5. Though Texas Southern fielded the top of the batting order in the bottom half to salvage the game, its attempt in turning it around proved to be just short as Pine Bluff’s starter ended his outing just as how he began, by throwing on the mound.
Despite the setback, the Tigers did show signs of promise in the later innings as Jesse Garcia underwent a pitching jam and a subsequent bases loaded situation with no outs on the board. Without any other viable option available, Garcia persevered and struck out the next three batters he faced to end the threat and keep the Tigers within striking distance.
Cooper batted 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored. He was one of two players that finished with multiple hits in the game, the second one being second baseman Nic Garza, whose 2-for-5 batting line accounted for a run and an RBI. Designated hitter Oscar Ponce drove in two RBIs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Morin threw for 4.2 innings and gave up five hits, two earned runs and a couple of walks and struck six out. He left in the end of the fifth inning after Pine Bluff scored their first two runs on a 2-RBI single to right field. He was relieved by Camden Guarnere, Robert Loza, A.J. Winger and Jesse Garcia from the bullpen.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s Korey Wasson threw a complete game on the mound as he struck out 11.
After a day off, the Tigers will travel to New Orleans, La. for a contest at Tulane on Tuesday at 5 p.m.