PINE BLUFF, Ark. – Texas Southern split a doubleheader at Arkansas-Pine Bluff Saturday afternoon as they won the opener 11-2 before falling in game two 3-2.
TSU 11, UAPB 2
Texas Southern scored in bunches and rode the arm of Kam Fields defensively with nine strikeouts as TSU claimed an 11-2 win in the opener.
UAPB would score on an RBI double in the first for the early 1-0 lead as it would hold until the fourth. With one out in the fourth, Oscar Ponce doubled to left followed by a Roderick Coffee single to move Ponce over to third. Dean Salazar’s sac fly tied the contest at 1-all which set up Jordan Vidato’s RBI single for the 2-1 lead. Tyrese Clayborne’s RBI single drove in the final run of the inning as TSU led 3-1. UAPB attempted to answer in the fourth with two runners on with two outs but Fields struck out UAPB’s Dante Leach to end the threat.
TSU would plate three more runs in the fifth as Justin Cooper was hit by a pitch to open the inning and stole second. He moved over to third on a groundout and eventually scored on Coffee’s RBI single. UAPB went to the bullpen after the RBI but TSU kept up the heat as Salazar hit an RBI double to right followed by Vidato’s sac fly for the 6-1 lead.
Both teams went scoreless until the ninth as the Tigers extended their lead with a five-run frame as Clayborne and Juan Sanchez had RBIs along with a pair of passed balls which led to TSU runs. UAPB would add a run in the ninth but the lead was too much to overcome.
Once again, Fields was dominant on the mound as he struck out nine for the third straight game while only allowing four hits, one run and a walk as he upped his SWAC-best strikeout total to 64. Coffee and Juan Sanchez both had 3-for-5 performances as Sanchez also had a team-best three RBI.
UAPB 3, SU 2
TSU would battle back to tie it in the seventh but surrendered the lead in the bottom frame on a bases loaded walk as UAPB held on for a 3-2 win.
The Tigers scored the game’s first run in the second as Salazar hit a one-out double and scored on Clayborne’s RBI off a UAPB error. The lead would hold until the third as UAPB scored on a single with two outs to knot the score at 1-all.
UAPB moved ahead in the pitching duel to open the sixth as an RBI double scored the leadoff batter. TSU fought back in the seventh as Vidato reached on an error, moved over on a passed ball and stolen base to score on a sac fly to tie the contest once again. The Tigers would eventually load the bases with two outs but UAPB forced a strikeout to end the inning.
UAPB loaded the bases in the seventh and broke the tie on a walk. TSU had an opportunity in the eighth to tie the contest with runners in scoring position but missed on several chances. With two outs in the ninth, Nic Garza and Ponce hit back-to-back singles but the threat came to an end on a game-ending flyout.
Ponce led TSU with two hits while Brian Williams struck out seven on the mound.
The series concludes at 1 p.m. tomorrow in Pine Bluff.