HOUSTON – The Lady Tigers of Texas Southern University remained undefeated in Southwestern Athletic Conference play Friday after claiming a thrilling 9-8 win over visiting Prairie View A&M.
In a game that was aired on ESPNU, freshman first baseman Lauryn Banks (pictured) went 3-for-4 with five RBIs to lead the Lady Tigers, none bigger than the two-run, walkoff home run she hit in the bottom of the seventh to win the game for TSU. She also knocked two doubles in the game.
With the win, the Lady Tigers (9-19) remain atop the SWAC’s West Division with a 7-0 league record, one game ahead of Prairie View A&M (18-8, 6-1 SWAC). TSU and Prairie View A&M were picked to be co-West Division champions in the preseason SWAC softball poll.
Destiny Ricks picked up the win in relief for the Lady Tigers, improving to 3-4 for the season. Ricks scattered four hits and allowed just one earned run while striking out two batters.
Lost in the aftermath of Banks’ home run was a great defensive play by TSU leftfielder Tevanae Tate. With two on and one out in the top of the seventh, PVAMU’s Gabrielle Fonseca knocked a long fly ball out to left field. Tate made the grab while falling over the temporary fencing and saved two runs by turning Fonseca’s home run into a sacrifice fly.
Because of Tate’s catch, the Lady Panthers only scored one run in the inning. That followed a four-run sixth in which the visitors erased a 7-3 TSU lead.
Banks’ home run capped the second comeback TSU made Friday. After falling behind 3-1 in the top of the third, the Lady Tigers scored four in the bottom half the inning. Two of those runs came on an RBI double by Banks, and two more came on a home run by Marissa Padron; it was Padron’s second home run of the season.
TSU had a total of three home runs in the game. A’Leecia Bell knocked a solo home run in the fifth inning. Ebony Wiltz added an RBI triple in the second inning to score Padron from first.
Texas Southern’s starting pitcher Naomi Reyes pitched five and two-thirds innings for the Lady Tigers. She struck out seven batters in the game.
The Lady Tigers resume their series with Prairie View A&M with a doubleheader Saturday. First pitch in Saturday’s opener is scheduled for noon.