Once again, Justin Cooper proved he was going to be a thorn in Southern’s side for the second straight game as he led the game off with a single. Tyrese Clayborne added a single and Cooper scored off Oscar Ponce’s RBI single. Juan Sanchez drove in the second run with a sac fly for the early 2-0 lead. However, the lead was brief as SU crossed home three runs in the bottom half which forced an early pitching chance for TSU as Brian Williams replaced Adam Dearinger.
With two outs in the third, Herbert Watts doubled up the middle and scored on Jordan Vidato’s RBI to knot the game at 3-all. But once again, TSU couldn’t maintain the lead as SU added a pair of runs in the third to lead 5-3.
TSU responded in the fourth and moved back ahead 6-5 as Ponce, Sanchez and Watts recorded RBIs. Cooper smacked a two-run homer in the fifth to up the lead to 8-5 but Southern regained the lead in the fifth with four runs to jump ahead 9-8.
The Tigers would fight back in the sixth as SU walked five-of-six batters which paved the way for two runs and a 10-9 TSU lead. This time, TSU wouldn’t relinquish the lead as they tacked on three runs in the eighth and another in the ninth.
Cooper finished 3-for-6 with two runs and two RBI while Clayborne went 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI. Sanchez drove in three runs along with three runs scored by Nic Garza. Adolf Castillo earned his first win after pitching 3.2 innings and recording two strikeouts. Kam Fields earned his first save as he pitched two-tenths of an inning in the ninth.
The rubber match starts at 1 p.m. Sunday in Baton Rouge, La.