McMillan’s homer lifts GSU past PVAMU

Sports

NEW ORLEANS, La. | Jalin McMillan came off the bench to provide an offensive spark, including a go-ahead solo home run in the eighth inning, as the Grambling State University baseball team fought off elimination with a 9-8 victory over Prairie View A&M in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Baseball Tournament on Friday morning at Wesley Barrow Stadium.

Grambling State (26-24), the West No. 2 seed, advances to meet Alabama State, the East’s top seed, at 3 p.m. on Friday. Prairie View A&M, the West No. 4 seed, concludes its season with a 18-35 record. Should the Tigers defeat the Hornets at 3 p.m., the two teams will meet again at Noon on Saturday.

How It Happened

Prairie View A&M struck first with a solo homer to left by Tyler Gordon in the top of the first inning and grabbed another run in the second to take a 2-0 lead.

Grambling State tied the game at 2 in the bottom half of the second.

Jahmoi Percival opened the frame with a base hit to left and stole second. He advanced to third on a wild pitch as Trevin Bolden drew a walk. Nick Wheeler followed with a single to left center to plate Percival from third as Bolden moved to third. CJ Mervilus bounced out to the shortstop as Bolden came in to score.

Back came the Panthers in the third with four runs, highlighted by a two-run homer by Daniel Lingua, to break the 2-2 tie and grab a 6-2 lead.

The Tigers plated two runs in the third to cut the deficit to 6-4.

Isaiah Torres was hit by a pitch to begin the inning, but was out at second when Richard Ortiz reached on a fielder’s choice. After a base hit through the right side by Percival, Garrett Smith doubled down the left field line to score two runs.

Grambling State cut the margin in half in the fifth as Torres opened the frame with a base hit through the right side and came across to score on a Percival sacrifice fly to trim the deficit to 6-5.

The Tigers took advantage of three walks and an error in the sixth to grab a 7-6 advantage.

With two outs, Ian Bailey, pinch hitting for Ace Felder, singled to left center and moved to second on a wild pitch. Torres and Drexler Macaay drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Jalin McMillan, who entered the game as the designated hitter due to an injury to Richard Ortiz, drew a base on balls to plate Bailey from third. After a pitching change, Percival reached on an error, which allowed Torres to score.

Prairie View A&M answered in the top half of the seventh as the Panthers plated two runs to take an 8-7 lead.

Grambling State tied the game at 8 as Bolden opened the bottom of the seventh with a base hit to center and came across to score on a sacrifice fly to center by Bailey.

The Tigers grabbed a 9-8 advantage on a solo homer by McMillan, his first of the season, in the bottom of the eighth.

Inside the Numbers

> Grambling State finished with nine runs on 11 hits, committed one error and stranded seven on base

> Jahmoi Percival, Garrett Smith and Nick Wheeler each collected two hits

> Kerry Boykins, Jr. pitched seven innings and did not figure into the decision. He surrendered eight runs on 11 hits, fanned seven and walked one

> Kaelin Woodard picked up the victory in two innings of relief
> Prairie View A&M finished with eight runs on 11 hits, committed one error and left four on base

> Alex Martinez led the Panthers at the plate by going 3-for-5 with a pair of runs scored

> Tracy Warren started on the mound for the Panthers and gave up seven runs (six earned) on eight hits, walked five and struck out three in 5.2 innings

> Derrick Curry pitched 2.1 innings in relief

News and Notes

> Grambling State entered the tournament as the SWAC Western Division No. 2 seed

> Prairie View A&M entered the tournament as the SWAC Western Division No. 4 seed

> Grambling State eliminated Prairie View A&M from the tournament

> This was the seventh meeting between the Tigers and Panthers this season

> Grambling State went 5-2 over Prairie View A&M this season

> Bryan Delgado, Drexler Macaay, Isaiah Torres and Kevin Whitaker, Jr. were named to the All-SWAC Second Team on Tuesday

> Tigers head coach James Cooper improved to 41-23 all-time against Prairie View A&M

> The Tigers improved to 9-3 against opponents on the top portion of the bracket

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