Texas Southern suffered a scare at both ends of their midweek non-conference game against Jarvis Christian, but their resilience throughout the contest came through as they outlasted the Bulldogs 10-8.
The visiting Bulldogs wasted little time in making their presence felt against TSU by scoring five runs in the opening inning off a fast string of singles that required a quick pitching change as Adolf Castillo was inserted after two-plus thirds. Castillo promptly ended the jam with a fielder’s choice groundout to third base for the 10th batter of the frame.
Similarly, TSU’s offense started their day with a stream of runs in the first. A fielder’s choice groundout to second created by designated hitter Dean Salazar that sent Justin Cooper home brought the Tigers to within three runs for the tie at 5-2. Texas Southern diminished their deficit down to two runs on a Cooper sacrifice fly to far center that let catcher Michael Goudeau comfortably jog to the plate.
The Tigers overtook the Bulldogs for a 9-5 score in the fifth and sixth innings which began with Oscar Ponce’s double to left-center field. One batter after the initial score, Salazar showed up again with a soft base hit to center that tied the game 5-5. JC switched reliever Jan Reyes out for Justin Lockley prior to facing Vidato out of precaution, but the bat eventually proved to be more elusive for the visitors as another RBI single put TSU ahead for the first time in the game 6-5.
In the sixth, TSU made it 9-5 thanks to a squeeze play simultaneously executed by Tyson Thompson’s sacrifice bunt to third and Goudeau’s sprint home Nic Garza punched in the team’s 10th run with another sacrifice bunt play to third.
Although the momentum swung to TSU’s favor, JC continued to hinder the Tigers in the late-stretch as they scored three in the eighth and ninth innings. Armand Barrios and Jalen Thomas each scored on wild pitches thrown by Caleb DuBois and Alex Olguin in the eighth whereas Robert Morales singled to left field for an RBI in the ninth.
JC had the tying run on the plate by the time Joseph Martinez was brought in to close the game. Martinez inherited a runner on second with two outs down on Olguin’s behalf and faced off against Barrios, who was 2-for-4 at the plate thus far. Fortunately for TSU, it was their pitcher who came out on top in the final battle at the plate as he pulled a pop out to shortstop to close the game.
Starting on the mound in relief for Winger after just two-thirds of the opening inning, Adolf Castillo earned the win with his 6.1 frames of work that exhibited three hits, no runs, and three strikeouts. Additionally, three other pitchers came out of the bullpen for TSU against JC which featured the trio of DuBois, Olguin, and Martinez.
DuBois relieved Castillo to start the eighth and lasted for two-thirds as well with one hit, two earned runs, and a strikeout in his name. Olguin stepped for the end of the eighth and endured most of the ninth–holding the JC offense to three hits, one run, and one strikeout–before presenting Martinez with the save opportunity that the latter fulfilled.
Oscar Ponce was the leading figure for the Tigers’ offense as he hit a team-high three times which knocked in two RBIs and a run scored. It is his third game that consists of as many hits in the season. He is also the owner of a six-game hitting streak that began on March 13 versus Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Taking a step back in the month of March, Ponce has recorded a hit in 10 out of his last 11 games.
The outfield each provided a pair of hits in their own right for the home side, including the late-stretch replacement. Tyson Thompson, Jordan Vidato, Avery Chatman, and Herbert Watts batted a total of three RBI, four runs, and seven hits (and a stolen base). Although Cooper recorded one at-bat in his five plate appearances and didn’t make a clean hit, he did score thrice the number of times.
TSU will take a week-long break before taking the field at MacGregor Park on Thursday, April 1 for a three-game conference series against Southern University. The first pitch of the initial leg is expected to be thrown at 5 p.m.