ATLANTA, Ga. – Florida A&M broke open a tight game with eight runs over the final three innings to claim a 9-1 win in TSU baseball’s SWAC Tournament opener on Wednesday morning.
TSU relied on its defense early as FAMU came up empty with runners on third in the first and fourth innings. After two quick strikeouts in the fifth by TSU starter Abraham De Leon, FAMU struck first with a home run to lead 1-0. FAMU threatened to score again with a runner on third in the sixth but De Leon escaped the jam with a strikeout and groundout.
The Tigers had action in the sixth as CJ Castillo and Daalen Adderley hit back-to-back two-out singles but the inning would come to an end on a fly out to left.
The Tigers had to go to their bullpen on multiple occasions to enter the seventh as two early walks forced Josiah Castro to replace Justyn Valdez. Castro’s first batter ended in a walk as FAMU loaded the bases. Castro forced a big strikeout and TSU was on the verge of escaping unharmed but a critical fielding error on a potential double play or play at home allowed FAMU to score followed by a sac fly for a 3-0 margin.
TSU’s Gabe Vasquez led the seventh off with a single followed by a fielding error which allowed Roderick Coffee to reach base. However, the scoring threat came to a halt as TSU hit into a double play followed by a fly out to right.
Castro recorded two quick outs to open the eighth but FAMU hit two singles and a homer for a 6-0 lead. A walk followed by an RBI double moved the gap to 7-0. FAMU scored twice to open the ninth as TSU would score for the first time in the bottom frame on Alexander Olivo’s RBI single.
CJ Castillo and Chase Cromer both went 2-for-4. Despite recording eight strikeouts to up his single-season total to 114, De Leon dropped to 6-3 on the season on the mound.
TSU will face either Prairie View A&M or Alabama State at 9 a.m. Thursday morning on the campus of Georgia Tech.
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