BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – East Division No. 1 seed Alabama State rode the arm of senior Breon Pooler and timely hitting to push past West Division No. 4 seed Texas Southern 4-3 on Thursday night at Regions Field in the final game of the opening round of the 2022 SWAC Baseball Tournament.
After waiting an extra 24 hours and multiple rain delays, Alabama State and Texas Southern were locked in a pitcher’s duel before Christian Lopez delivered a two-out single in the bottom of the fourth for a 1-0 lead. Hunter May added to the lead with a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the fifth for a 3-0 lead.
Alabama State was held to seven hits by Texas Southern pitchers CJ Castillo and Alex Olguin with Kyler McIntosh leading the way going 2-for-3 with a run scored.
The Hornets had two runners on in the seventh before TSU went to its bullpen as Olguin was summoned. ASU went with a double steal as the throw at home wasn’t attempted due to a throwing error by the Tigers as they trailed 4-0.
Justin Cooper drew a one-out walk in the eighth which made ASU turn to its bullpen. Juan Sanchez drew another walk and Roderick Coffee came up big with a three-run homer to left for a 4-3 deficit. However, TSU couldn’t keep the momentum going as they hit a pair of groundouts to end the inning.
After a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth, Gabriel Vasquez hit a one out single to right and moved to second as the ball barely beat Johnathon Thomas to first, which was challenged and upheld. TSU couldn’t capitalize as they ended the game on a groundout.
Coffee went 2-for-3 with one run and three RBI while Castillo struck out four in 6.1 innings of action.
Pooler was in control as he finished the game going 7.1 innings allowing one run (earned) on three hits with a pair of strikeouts.He finished the contest with 96 total pitches with eight ground ball and eight fly ball outs. Payton Harris came in to work the final 1.2 innings to earn his fourth save of the season.
How It Happened
- B4 | Lopez singled up the middle to drive in Dilan Espinal after a two-out triple (1-0, Alabama State).
- B5 | May collected a pair of RBI with a two-out single to score Ian Matos and Cristopher DeGuzman (Fajardo, PR) to extend the lead (3-0, Alabama State).
- B7 | McIntosh and DeGuzman pulled off a double steal with McIntosh scoring on a throwing error (4-0, Alabama State).
- T8 | Roderick Coffee brought Texas Southern to within a run off reliever Osvaldo Mendez with a three-run home run to left (4-3, Alabama State).
- Box Score
The Hornets will face East Division No. 3 seed Bethune-Cookman in the next round of the 2022 SWAC Baseball Tournament, in a winner’s bracket game on Friday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 12:00 pm at Regions Field.
TSU will make a quick turnaround as they’ll face Grambling State at 12:00 p.m. tomorrow on the campus of UAB. If they win, they’ll face the loser of Bethune-Cookman or Alabama State at 6 p.m. back at Regions Field.