Tiger Baseball Drops Season Opener 7-5

Mississippi Valley State jumped out to 6-0 lead and held off a furious rally from Texas Southern in a 7-5 decision on Friday during day one of the Inaugural Cactus Jack HBCU Classic at Minute Maid Park.

MVSU got a great performance from starting pitcher Hunter Stallings, who did not allow a base runner until one out into the third inning where he did eventually work himself out of a bit of a jam after having allowed back-to-back walks and an infield single to load the bases with one out.

Fast forward to the top of the fifth and the Tigers trailing 6-0 when TSU gave itself a chance by putting up a five-run inning.

CJ Castillo’s single to left field got the TSU scoring going with two outs by plating Daalen Adderley and Jordan Vidato from first and second bases, respectively. After Castillo advanced to second on a wild pitch, Jeffry Mercado sent a hot shot into left field to bring in Castillo. Newcomer Alexander Olivo’s second at-bat in a TSU baseball uniform could not have been more effective as the junior transfer from Ranger College belted a 2-out, 2-RBI home run over the left field wall. Olivo, a 6-2, 260-pound first baseman, also plated Mercado on the play drawing the Tigers to within 6-5.

TSU reliever Josh Fluet netted two quick outs in the bottom half but MVSU’s Narvin Booke singled, stole second and scored on an RBI double for a 7-5 lead. TSU’s best chance to tie occurred in the seventh with two runners on with one out but they couldn’t punch in a run as the Tigers only had one hit over the final four innings.

Castillo led the Tigers with a pair of hits going 2-for-3 with a run scored and 2 RBI, which tied Olivo in the run production category. Jurgen Zwitzer took the loss on the mound going 3.2 innings while giving up six runs with just three earned by MVSU on five hits coupled with four walks and a strikeout. Fluet had a great outing in relief going 4.1 innings while giving up just one earned run on two hits while retiring 10 of the last 11 batters he faced.

Stallings picked up the win while Jose Salazar-Ortega picked up a four-inning save giving up a one hit while collecting seven strikeouts and walking just two.

TSU will return to Minute Maid Park for day two action in the Inaugural Cactus Jack HBCU Classic when the Tigers take on Prairie View A&M with the first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m. live on AT&T Sportsnet.



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