The Tigers of Texas Southern return to conference play this weekend as they travel to Louisiana to face long-time rival Grambling State for a three-game series. Despite stumbling in their last game to #23 Tulane on Tuesday afternoon in an 18-2 defeat, Texas Southern (3-11 (2-1)) hopes to continue their good form within the SWAC against a Grambling (5-7) team that has yet to make their debut in the conference.
From 2017 onward, including postseason games, both sides have nearly shared the spoils, with Grambling edging by Texas Southern in a 10-9 win-loss ratio. In the all-time department, Grambling is respectively ahead by a 126-108 record since 1981.
Like Texas Southern, Grambling State was also eliminated in the semi-finals of last year’s SWAC Tournament. They fell to top-seeded Alabama State in the elimination game 5-2, who eventually lost in the title game to Southern, the team that defeated TSU en route to the championship. Prior to the postseason, Grambling State finished above Texas Southern for second place by three games in the SWAC West.
For the TSU offense, they will be led by Roderick Coffee, whose 14 hits – which is tied for the club lead along with three teammates – eight runs, four home runs, nine RBIs, 26 total bases, and two stolen bases presents a capable bat that can change the game at a given swing. In the team’s last series against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, he went 4-for-9 with two walks for a .444 average. Teammates Justin Cooper, Victor Bueno and Oscar Ponce will assist the Tigers as well, with their combined hits (42) equating for nearly half of the team’s total (105). If one includes Coffee to the trio, then the percentage grows to 53 percent of the team’s hitting.
The team’s rotation will include Alex Olguin, Noe Guerrero III, and Jacob Morin. Olguin and Guerrero earned their first wins of the year against Pine Bluff, with the former doing so in a quality start that allowed three runs on Feb. 28, and the latter the next day. As for the bullpen, relievers Paul Kindervater, Jaiden Beck and Jesse Garcia will be available to support their starters.
Barring any sudden changes to the schedule, TSU and Grambling will play one game each day as the first game will begin on Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.