Texas Southern wrapped up the first half of SWAC play with its fifth consecutive series win after splitting a doubleheader against Grambling State at Memorial Park.
TSU 8, Grambling State 1
TSU used two big innings at the plate and relied on the arm of Tierrah Williams and the defense to do the rest as they won 8-1 in the opener.
TSU struck first in the second as Mila Rodriguez drew a leadoff walk and moved over on Tevanae Tate’s bunt single. A GSU error allowed Haley Castro to load the bases which paved the way for Ja’Lynn Swiney’s sac fly for a 1-0 lead. Julia Bilbao’s bases loaded walk and Ashling Shahan’s RBI on a fielder’s choice upped the lead to 3-0. Three batters later, Tamera McKnight drew a bases loaded walk for a 4-0 lead.
Grambling State opened the third with a leadoff homer and a hit but that was all the damage they would muster as starter Tierrah Williams held GSU hitless until her departure in the top of the sixth. Nora Rodriguez came on in relief and kept them hitless while the TSU offense added some much-needed insurance in the sixth as McKnight drove in an RBI followed by Mila Rodriguez’s run. Tate added an exclamation mark with a two-run homer to center for the 8-1 lead.
Tate went 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored while McKnight also drove in two runs. Williams held GSU to two hits and struck out four in 5.1 innings of action on the mound.
Grambling State 2, TSU 1
Grambling State jumped out to an early lead and held off a late TSU charge in a 2-1 win in the second game.
A throwing error by TSU allowed Grambling State to cross home an early run in the first. TSU generated hits as the game progressed but couldn’t string enough in each inning as GSU upped the lead to 2-0 on an RBI single in the fifth.
TSU’s Julia Bilbao drew a leadoff walk in the sixth and moved to second on Ashling Shahan’s bunt. Bilbao moved to third on Daryn Haslam’s fly out and eventually scored on Tamera McKnight’s RBI single for a 2-1 deficit.
Reliever Jazmine Gendorf and the TSU defense forced a 1-2-3 seventh which gave TSU one final shot in the seventh. With one out, Tevanae Tate drew a full count walk but was caught stealing. Ja’Lynn Swiney drew a full count walk and moved over to second on Jordan McClain’s single to short. However, the game would end on a strikeout.
Mila Rodriguez finished 2-for-3 while McKnight had the lone RBI. Lailah Bell went five innings on the mound as she fell to 0-2 on the season.
TSU is back in action on Friday against Southern to open round two of SWAC play at Memorial Park for a 3 p.m. start.