May 30, 2010
Shreveport, La. -
Two schools hungry for a SWAC baseball title will meet Sunday for just that, a conference championship. Alcorn State is looking for its first-ever, while Grambling has not worn the crown since 1985.
Grambling and Alcorn both entered Wednesday as #3 seeds in their respective brackets, and both teams swept through those brackets without a blemish to arrive at the championship game. Let's take a look at how each team made its way to the title matchup.
ALCORN STATE 12, Southern 0 (7 inn.) - The Braves opened the tournament with a strong statement, a 12-0 slaughter rule victory over defending champion, Southern. ASU scored nine times in the final two innings and got back-to-back homeruns from David Reed and Eduardo Gonzales to put away the Jaguars. Third baseman Rodney Warren had four hits, including a triple and double, and also scored four runs. Collin Armold went the distance on the mound for the Braves giving up just five hits with no walks and three strikeouts.
GRAMBLING 8, Mississippi Valley State 4 - The Tigers kept the lower seed rolling on opening day with an 8-4 win over the #2E seeded Delta Devils. Chris Wolfe collected four hits and a pair of RBI, and Steve Kletke hit a towering two-run homer to lead the Tiger offense. Jeremy Shelby also had three hits and two runs scored for GSU. Adrian Turner worked 5.0 inning to earn the victory. His start was halted by a 1:51 rain delay in the top of the sixth inning, and Matthew Morales worked the final 4.0 innings in relief to earn the save.
ALCORN STATE 7, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 6 - Alcorn State blew a two-run lead in the top of the ninth, but quickly erased that with just two batters in the bottom half to defeat the Golden Lions 7-6. For the first time in the tournament, the Braves found themselves trailing when UAPB, the #4W seed that upset the #1E seed Jackson State in the opening day, scored four times in the fourth to take a 4-1 lead. ASU answered with three runs in the bottom half of the inning and two more in the seventh before needing to rally in the ninth. Kenneth Rowan led off the rally with a single and then scored on Alvin Jackson's double, which was misplayed by the Golden Lions in the outfield. Steve Easter worked 8.0 innings, but could not get out of the ninth, and Cole Vicars earned the victory in relief.
GRAMBLING 17, Alabama State 2 (7 inn.) - The Tigers pounded out 16 hits and scored 17 times to defeat the #4E seeded Hornets, who had upset the #1W seed Texas Southern in the opening round. Kletke and Wolfe each collected four hits in a game that had little doubt in the outcome as the Tigers scored four times in the third inning to pull away from Alabama State, whose defense committed four errors and gave up nine unearned runs to GSU. Odingo Davila turned in a complete game for the victory giving up just five hits and two earned runs. He struck out six and walked four.
ALCORN STATE 8, Southern 7 - In the most hotly contested game of the tournament, Alcorn State rallied from down 5-2 and without its head coach to eliminate the Jags, 8-7, and earn a berth into the championship final for the second straight season. Alcorn head coach Barret Rey was ejected in the fourth inning after Southern's Dio Gonzales was called safe on a straight steal of home to give the Jags a 5-2 lead and all the momentum, seemingly. Warren again put the team on his back tripling in the sixth to help rally the Braves to within a run at 5-4, and then giving ASU the lead with a two-run single in the top of the seventh. The Braves would score four times in the inning and held on for the victory. Cedric Pomerlee struck out seven and walked just one in 8.0 innings to get the win. Armold got the save working out of a jam in the ninth.
GRAMBLING 7, Texas Southern 2 - Grambling scored four times in the fifth and added an insurance run in the sixth to break open a 2-2 game and steadily put away TSU 7-2 to advance to the title game. Anthony Clifton was the only GSU batter to get more than one hit, and both were for extra bases with a double, triple, and three runs scored. Kletke and Shelby each drove in two runs for the Tigers. Richard Bautista worked 7.0 innings in relief of starter Eric Zagone to earn the victory.