HOUSTON – The Lady Tigers of Texas Southern University took both games of a Saturday doubleheader against Alabama A&M to complete a three-game sweep of the Lady Bulldogs.
TSU won the opening game of the doubleheader 4-0, and then overcame a five-run deficit in the second game to take a thrilling 8-7 win in eight innings.
With their two wins Saturday, the Lady Tigers (8-19) improved to 6-0 in Southwestern Athletic Conference play. They are tied for first place in the conference’s West Division with Prairie View A&M; the Lady Tigers host Prairie View A&M next week, with Friday’s game set to air on ESPNU.
GAME ONE: Lady Tigers 4, Alabama A&M 0
Freshman pitcher Destiny Ricks (pictured) scattered five hits en route to her first collegiate shutout. Ricks, from Fresno, Calif., struck out five batters and did not issue a walk. She retired eight consecutive batters between the second and fourth innings.
Madi Marek gave Ricks all the run support she needed with a two-out, two-RBI single in the bottom of the third inning that broke a scoreless tie. Marek’s hit knocked home Zariah Robins and Julia Bilbao, who got on base to lead off the inning.
Paige Jackson and Haley Castro added RBI singles in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively.
Robins collected three hits in the game. The Lady Tigers took advantage of six walks from Alabama A&M pitcher Lauren Hayden.
GAME TWO: Lady Tigers 8, Alabama A&M 7 (8 inn.)
Marissa Padron’s walkoff RBI single to score A’Leecia Bell in the bottom of the eighth inning completed a comeback victory for the Lady Tigers and gave TSU its second consecutive weekend series sweep.
The Lady Tigers fell behind 5-0 after two innings and played from behind throughout the game. They trailed 7-4 going into their last at-bat in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Marek wasted no time igniting a comeback, as she led off the inning with a home run. Following Ashlyn Taylor’s single, Padron came up to the plate and reached second base thanks to a fielding error which gave the Lady Tigers runners on second and third.
The Lady Tigers cut AAMU’s lead to one run on the next at-bat, when Ebony Wiltz knocked a sacrifice fly to score Emma Ortiz, who was pinch-running for Taylor. Back-to-back singles by Castro and Robins then gave the Lady Tigers a bases-loaded situation.
Needing just one run, pinch hitter Danielle Sonnier flied out to right field. Though the flyout was not deep enough to score Kelsey Riley (Padron’s pinch-runner) from third, an wild throw from AAMU’s right fielder allowed Riley to score the tying run.
In the eighth inning, Bell led off the inning with a four-pitch walk. Marek then knocked down a sacrifice bunt to move Bell to second. Emma Ortiz was the next batter, and her well-placed bunt earned her a single, moving Bell to third. The next batter was Padron, who ended the game with a single to right field to score Bell.
Naomi Reyes pitched three innings of relief to earn her second win in as many days. She struck out three batters and scattered only three hits and allowed just a single, unearned run.
Padron had three hits and two RBIs in the game. Bell and Taylor each knocked two hits.