Late Runs Prevent Tigers From Securing Home Finale

Despite coming back from an early deficit, the team faltered late down the stretch and lost their regular season home finale to 10-7 Monday afternoon.

Performing for in spite of the result was leadoff man and shortstop Justin Cooper, who went 3-for-6 which included one run scored, two RBIs, a double, and a stolen base. Outfielder Roderick Coffee and catcher Michael Goudeau each batted for two hits with the former having himself a double and the latter a double, a triple, two runs, and an RBI.

Similar to the previous two games in this series, Texas Southern fell behind from the start of this contest as starter Jesse Garcia walked six batters after eight at-bats which resulted in three runs for Grambling. Two-thirds into the first, Garcia was pulled from the mound for Caleb DuBois to extinguish TSU's pitching jam and provide breathing room.

The hosting partially responded with one run in the bottom half of the same inning with first baseman Oscar Ponce grounding out to second base, allowing Cooper to score.

Both team's bats went quiet through the first third of the game until the bottom of the fourth where TSU tallied their second on an RBI double hit by Cooper down the left field line, trimming Grambling's lead to 3-2.

But in the top of the fifth, thanks to designated hitter Rafael Ramirez's two-out RBI single to right field, Grambling restored their two-run lead at 4-2.

Nevertheless, things came to a head for TSU in the bottom fifth as they put four on the board to wrestle the lead off Grambling's hands for a 6-4 score. With runners on first and second, outfielder Avery Chatman doubled to left-center field, giving his teammates enough of a cushion to jog home in near unison. Immediately after Chatman's at-bat, both Goudeau and third baseman Parker DeLeon drove consecutive extra-base hits, galvanizing the home team's momentum into finally ending their five-game losing skid.

But just as quickly as TSU gained their lead off their raucous hitting amid a jubilant MacGregor Park crowd, they relinquished it in the top of the sixth. TSU's struggles began during 's Caleb Clines' at-bat when, after the batter hit a pop-up well into the edge of the infield dirt and off the start of right field, a miscommunication between the second baseball and outfielder led to a hit. With consequential runners holding first and third base, GSU leadoff man Cameron Phelts hit an RBI single to make it a 6-5 TSU game. With Caleb DuBois facing his first jam since coming out of the bullpen in the first inning, he conceded a three-run home run to Cameron Bufford and relinquished his team's lead to Grambling for an 8-6 game. Wasting no time to mitigate the damage, DuBois was pulled for Adam Dearinger who then made the last two outs of the frame.

Deflating as the sixth was, the Tigers came within one run of the tie during the bottom of the seventh after Cooper played a clever bunting play between GSU reliever Kimani Bailey and catcher Ben Avila, making prime use of the pair's indecisiveness on who should deliver the forceout to score Chatman as the latter arrived at home plate completely vacant.

But Cooper's RBI bunt would eventually be the last score as GSU's James Gunn drove a two-run homer to right field off Alex Olguin during the top of the ninth to grow the visitor's lead to 10-7 as GSU held TSU scoreless in the ninth.

With the Tigers baseball team finishing their home schedule for 2021, they will be on the road for the start of their next series on April 30, which will come against Kansas State of the Big 12 Conference at 6 p.m. in Manhattan, Kansas.



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