PINE BLUFF, Ark. – For the second straight game, the TSU baseball team fell in the closing innings as Arkansas-Pine Bluff won a 6-5 extra-inning affair Sunday at the Torii Hunter Complex.
TSU wasted no time in jumping ahead early as Justin Cooper led the contest off with a single and stole second to get into scoring position. Three batters later, Dean Salazar homered over the outfield fence for a 2-0 lead after the first inning. The lead grew to 3-0 after two on Herbert Watts’ sac fly to score Jordan Vidato. Four innings later, TSU upped its advantage to 4-0 as Juan Sanchez recorded an RBI single to score Oscar Ponce. In the bottom frame, UAPB would cut its deficit in half with a pair of runs.
Similar to Saturday’s second game, missed opportunities would hurt TSU at the crucial times as the Tigers had a runner on third with one out in the seventh only to see the runner picked off after a foul out. TSU came up with a clutch defensive stand in the bottom of the seventh as UAPB led the inning off with a triple but reliever Bryson Armstrong held the runner at third with a pair of strikeouts and a flyout. UAPB kept chiseling away at the lead as a throwing error with two outs put a baserunner on. Another fielding error on a UAPB single on the next at-bat trimmed the lead to 4-3.
TSU opened the ninth with a leadoff triple from Rueben Bennevendo as he managed to finally score despite consecutive strikeouts on Tyrese Clayborne’s two-out RBI double for a 5-3 lead. However, the lead was short-lived as UAPB opened the ninth with a leadoff walk followed by a double and a two-RBI single to tie the contest at 5-all and send it into extra innings.
TSU would load bases in the top of the 10th with one out but couldn’t capitalize while new pitcher Alex Olguin came through with three straight strikeouts in the bottom half to end the 10th. Once again, TSU had a chance in the 11th as Vidato reached on a leadoff error. With one out, Vidato made it to third on Michael Goudeau’s single, and UAPB opted to load the bases for the force with only one out. Unfortunately, TSU couldn’t push home a run.
A leadoff error and walk in the 11th put TSU’s back against the wall and UAPB closed the game out with an RBI single for the 6-5 win.
Clayborne finished 2-for-4 with an RBI along with two RBI from Salazar. Olguin was tagged with the loss in the relief effort.
TSU is back in action Tuesday night in College Station at Texas A&M for a 6:32 p.m. start.
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