SWAC Softball Tournament: Day One Recaps
Alabama A&M 5, Prairie View A&M 3
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – A walk-off two-run triple by Kia Lang lifted Alabama A&M to a 5-3 win over Prairie View A&M in the opening game of the 2018 Southwestern Athletic Conference Softball Tournament.
With the contest tied 3-3, Alabama A&M’s Lauren Walker singled to right and motored to third after a misplay in the field. Two batters later, Lang ripped a Crystal Castillo offering to the warning track to vault the Lady Bulldogs (22-19) to the next round.
Tiana Sanders was 2-for-3 with a RBI single. Lauren Hayden (11-4) collected the win with 2.2 innings of relief where she allowed two hits and one run.
Down 3-2 heading to the seventh, Prairie View A&M’s Gabrielle Foncesa led off with a single and pinch-runner Shelby Williams quickly nabbed second base. Destinee Williams moved her to third with a fly out, and Alyssa Garcia drew a walk to put runners on the corners. S. Williams scored on a RBI sac fly by Coronado, but Prairie View stranded two runners heading to the bottom of the frame. In all, the Lady Panthers stranded nine runners in the game.
After trading a scoreless first with Alabama A&M, Prairie View A&M (14-21) struck in the top of the second after Laurisa Hernandez smacked a double to deep center and later scored on an Amanda Ford single that just got by the glove of AAMU pitcher Imani Largin. Alabama A&M responded in its turn as Walker (3-for-3) slapped a two-run double to left center, and both sides each added one run, setting the stage for the seventh.
Laurisa Hernandez was 2-for-3 with a double, a RBI and a run scored. Castillo received the loss, allowing seven hits and five runs – three earned – in 6.0 innings.
Alabama State 9, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 4
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Charlene Castro drove in four runs, and Casey Durham scored three runs as Alabama State cruised to a – victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff, moving on in the winner’s bracket.
Alabama State wasted no time getting its offense going as Hatty Shope doubled and Casey Durham drew a walk. Castro put the Lady Hornets on the board with a RBI single that plated Shope. In the second, Alabama State threatened to push its advantage as Aimee Felicies reached second after an airmailed throw to first.
Felicies moved to third on a passed ball, but Kaylee Davis flied out, stranding the runner. The Lady Lions set about putting together a chance when Shanice Akins led off the bottom of the second with a single. After a wild pitch from Alabama State pitcher Justine Jean allowed Akins to second and a walk by Dominique Humphrey, the Lady Hornets (21-29) escaped the inning unscathed as Toni Martinez grounded out to second.
The Lady Hornets exploded in the third inning, as Durham belted a triple to right field, scoring Shope to make it 2-0. After an error at third allowed Kristin Gunter to reach first, giving Alabama State runners on the corners, Makala Burt delivered a RBI sacrifice fly to deep center to bring home Durham.
After receiving new life on a dropped foul ball, Amira James smacked a single to left center to score Gunter. James then pilfered second, and Felicies brought her home with a RBI single, reaching second on the throw to home and chasing UAPB starter Angelique Ramos. Castro later blasted a two-run shot in the top of the fourth to extend the Lady Hornets’ lead, and delivered a RBI groundout in the sixth for insurance. Burt followed by dropping a RBI single into shallow left.
UAPB (16-27) got on the board in the bottom of the sixth, as Alexandria Taylor drew a walk off of reliever Vanessa Bradford and moved to second on a wild pitch. Akins singled and an errant throw allowed Taylor to score and Akins over to second. After Bradford struck Monique Nikolao with a pitch, the Lady Lions added another run as Felicies mishandled a grounder from Humphrey, which led to Akins scoring as well as the return of Jean to the circle.
The Lady Lions continued to rally, with Kameron Graham knocking a RBI triple to deep right before the end of the inning. Jean would settle down, clamping down on the UAPB offense from that point forward.
Castro was 2-for-4, and Durham went 3-for-4. Shope scored three runs. Jean picked up the win with 6.2 innings of shutout ball, allowing five hits.
Texas Southern 11, Mississippi Valley State 2 (F/6)
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – 2018 SWAC Freshman of the Year Julia Bilbao drove in six runs as Texas Southern cruised past Mississippi Valley State 11-2 in six innings to advance in the winner's bracket.
After Jazmin Fulmore and the Lady Tigers were able to work out of an early jam, TSU put together some offense by taking advantage of a fielding error in the circle as well as a hit batter. Dominique Tello slapped a RBI single to left field that scored Ebony Wiltz -- who reached via error -- and a RBI groundout by Julia Bilbao brought in Jocilynn Ellis.
The defending champions blew the game open during the second inning, loading the bases off of Missisippi Valley starter Alyssa Montes. Tevanae Tate and Sierra Valdez hit back-to-back RBI singles to the left side, and Bilbao cleared the bags with a triple, making it 7-0.
Texas Southern (23-16-1) pushed another run across via fielding error in the third.
Mississippi Valley (14-30) looked to extend the game in the fifth, loading the bases with no outs as Jesse Parmley and Ikeyia Alexander led off with singles en route to the Devilettes loading the bases. Down to Mississippi Valley's final out, Jodeci Afoa-Tuia ripped a two-run double to deep right to get the Devilettes on the board.
The Lady Tigers put it away when Tevanae Tate tripled to right center field and scored on a sacrifice fly by Valdez. Bilbao put one out of the yard to enforce the run rule win.
Fulmore scattered eight hits and two runs -- none earned -- in getting the win. Sharia Cormier and Lexany Terrones each picked up a pair of hits for MVSU.
Southern 9, Alcorn State 8
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Southern outlasted East no. 1 seed Alcorn State in a wild 9-8 victory, advancing to the winner's bracket of the 2018 SWAC Softball Tournament.
Down 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth, Alcorn used an eight-run inning to overrun the Jaguars. Taylor Hughes managed to reach via walk, and Robin Harrison ripped a single just out of reach of Southern first baseman Tiara Scott to get two on. Alicia Hill loaded them up after beating second baseman Shauna Knighten to first, and Malea Dickerson cut the deficit in half with a RBI single.
The Lady Braves (14-34) continued to stormed ahead as Ashley Arnold hit a go-ahead two-run single to bring home Hill and Harrison and chase James from the circle. Mariah Ortiz extended the advantage with a lazer of a single down the left field line that brought two more Lady Braves across home plate, and Ramsey ripped a triple down the right field line to score pinch-runner Teona Bowles.
The Jaguars would not go quietly, as Sydney Andrews and Kiara Suttles had back-to-back singles, and Jamani Greer belted a two-run triple to get within three. Jazmine Dukes hit a towering round-tripper to left to bring the Jaguars (17-21) within one. After Aubrion James reached via error, Tiara Scott singled her home, and Scarlett Brock handed Southern the lead with a go-ahead RBI single.
Alcorn put together a final chance with one out as Harrison earned a free pass, and Hill beat out a single to third base. The Jaguars recovered to close out the game with consecutive fielder's choices.
Greer was 2-for-2 with three RBI, and Suttles went 2-for-4 with two runs. Hill went 3-for-4. James picked up the win with a complete game, scattering 10 hits and six runs to improve to 11-10.