Texas Southern turned a tight contest into a run-rule as they scored nine runs in the eighth for a 12-2 win over SWAC rival Prairie View A&M at MacGregor Park.
Tyrese Clayborne tripled in the first and scored on Jeremy Almaguer’s RBI for an early 1-0 lead. Prairie View A&M would move ahead 2-1 in the fourth on an RBI double followed by a sac fly. The Panthers threatened to do more damage with the bases loaded on two outs but TSU got out of the jam with a huge out in the infield.
Johnathon Thomas led the fourth off with a single followed by Gabriel Vasquez’s single which moved Thomas to third. PVAMU would commit a fielding error on a routine fielder’s choice which allowed Thomas and Vasquez to score for a 3-2 margin. PVAMU loaded the bases in the fifth once again which forced TSU to dip into its bullpen as Adolf Castillo came on in relief. Castillo made his presence felt quickly as he forced a strikeout and grounder to end the inning.
Despite neither team scoring over the next few innings, both team’s defensive units made big plays to squash potential scoring opportunities. TSU forced a huge fielder’s choice at third with no outs in the seventh and Castillo got out of another bases loaded jam with an inning-ending groundout. In the bottom half, PVAMU threw Clayborne out at home plate as he was attempting to score an insurance run.
PVAMU singled to open the eighth and a TSU error nearly led to a game-tying score but Clayborne gave PVAMU a taste of its own medicine as he gunned out a PVAMU runner at home attempting to tie the contest. The Panthers would pop out to end the inning as momentum stayed with TSU as Thomas opened the eighth with a single, stole second and moved to third on an error by PVAMU.
Vasquez drove in the fourth run with an RBI single and from that point the TSU offense went into overdrive as Justin Cooper and CJ Castillo loaded the bases after consecutive singles. Rueben Bennevendo drove in the fifth run and forced PVAMU to use another pitcher which didn’t work out too well as Roderick Coffee drew a bases loaded walk for a 6-2 lead. A wild pitch by PVAMU scored Castillo followed by Jeremy Gaines’ two-RBI single. TSU would bat around as Vasquez drove in two more RBI as TSU would end the game with an exclamation point as Thomas stole home during in a double steal for a 12-2 decision.
Gaines finished 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run while Vasquez went 3-for-5 with two runs and three RBI. Clayborne, Thomas, Cooper and Castillo all had two hits. CJ Castillo earned his fourth win as he went 4.1 innings on the mound before being relieved by Adolf Castillo and Alex Olguin.
The series resumes at 2 p.m. Friday at MacGregor Park.