NEW ORLEANS – Keanu Van Kuren’s go-ahead three-run double with two outs in the top of the 11th pushed Texas Southern on in the 2019 SWAC Baseball Tournament, as defending champion Texas Southern ousted Jackson State 6-3 Wednesday afternoon.
Down 3-2 in the eighth, Texas Southern managed a threat as Jordan Hollins drew a walk and Nic Garza was hit by a pitch. With Nikelle Galatas on in relief of Jackson State starter Anthony Becerra, Ryan Diaz singled home Hollins to tie the game.
After Galatas retired the side in the top of the ninth, Jackson State was unable to get anything done in its turn during the ninth. Following a scoreless 10th, Texas Southern loaded the bases with no outs, and Galatas managed to get two outs before Van Kuren put TSU ahead.
Jackson State put together a chance in the bottom of the 11th when Rahman Williams and Chandler Dillard reached with base hits. With Texas Southern forced to call on ace Aron Solis for relief, the senior came through, striking out Sam Nastari and retiring Culpepper to end it.
A hotly-contested matchup early on, Jackson State led early on after a bit of offense in the second inning with two outs. Rahman Williams picked up a base hit and moved to third on a throwing error before Tyler Culpepper scored him with a single.
Jackson State’s lead held strong through the early innings as Anthony Becerra had Texas Southern off balance through the first four innings, but the defending champions manufactured a pair of runs to take the lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, Chris Prentiss hit a one-out double and Raul Hernandez brought him home with a single to tie the game. Jackson State reclaimed the lead as Chandler Dillard reached on an error and stole second before Culpepper singled to score Dillard.
In the top of the seventh, Christian Sanchez hit a two-out triple to try and kick off a TSU rally, but Culpepper made a diving snag of a potential line drive by O.J. Oloruntimilehin to end the inning with a 3-2 JSU lead, which held until Texas Southern’s late comeback.
• Texas Southern’s Alex Olguin pitched 10.1 innings, allowing 10 hits and striking out four. He threw 152 pitches in the win.
• Tyler Culpepper led JSU with a 2-for-4 day, driving in two runs.
• Becerra threw 7.2 innings for a no decision, striking out 10 TSU hitters, one off his career high.
• Tyson Thompson and Ryan Diaz each had two hits and two runs scored for Texas Southern.