MADISON, Ala. – The Texas Southern baseball team fell 7-4 to Jackson State in its first-round game of the 2021 SWAC Baseball Tournament.
TSU was on fire to open the first as they loaded the bases with no outs but came up empty-handed. JSU starter Anthony Becerra forced a bases-loaded strikeout followed by a double play on a routine fly which saw the runner thrown out at third.
Despite the missed opportunity, TSU didn’t miss its next chance to score in the top of the third inning when, following a Juan Sanchez bases-loaded RBI hit-by-pitch, catcher Reuben Bennevendo drove a 2-RBI single to left field which handed TSU an early 3-0 lead.
But during the bottom half of the same frame, Jackson State clawed back into the game with a Marshal Luiz score on a wild pitch, which made it a 3-1 score. Then in the bottom fourth, JSU tied the game at 3-3 when shortstop Wesley Reyes engineered a 2-RBI triple to center field. Immediately afterward, Luiz singled through the left-field line to exchange the lead for JSU’s favor at 4-3.
Despite surrendering four unanswered runs, Texas Southern didn’t give up on the cause as third baseman Parker DeLeon arranged a first-pitch RBI bunt single in the top of the sixth which permitted Avery Chatman to score and tie the game again at 4-all.
As exciting as the game was hinting to become, that frame would inevitably be the last show of offense the TSU Tigers could manage, for after they forced the tie, Jackson State scored a run in each of the next three innings. Reyes and Chenar Brown had RBI singles followed by an Equon Smith solo home run.
The Tigers offense, normally a dependable aspect to their game, was sequestered to a total of five runs and seven hits by Becerra outing. TSU’s leading hitter was DeLeon, who hit twice, produced one RBI, and scored a run for the day. Bennevendo went 1-for-3 with the bat in addition to forcing a walk for TSU, with his production creating two RBIs as well. The remaining TSU players that secured a hit against JSU were outfielders Tyrese Clayborne and Chatman.
From the mound, Kam Fields allowed six runs (five earned) in seven innings along with six strikeouts. He was relieved by Adolf Castillo in the bottom of the eighth who allowed one run.
The Tigers will play their next game in the SWAC Baseball Tournament in the lower bracket against Alabama A&M tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. The contest will be streamed on YouTube.
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