Texas Southern knocked off the No. 29 team in the country Sunday when the Tigers beat Southeastern Louisiana, 6-1, in 12 innings in Hammond, La. TSU salvaged one of the three games in the weekend series and beat a Southland Conference school for the first time since 1998 in the process.
“It’s definitely a good momentum boost,” coach Michael Robertson said. “We can’t wait to get to the next practice, but you’re only as good as your last game.”
TSU (6-8) handed Southeastern Louisiana its first loss in 12 games this year, finding a way to level the playing field with one of the nation’s best teams as the innings wore on in the three-day series. Tied 1-1 entering the top of the 12th, the Tigers used the small ball to light a fire.
Jeff Nelms had an infield single and Corbin Smith had a bunt single before Jorge Castillo reached base safely on an error while laying down a sacrifice bunt. That set up Ray Hernandez’s three-run triple to left-center on the first pitch he saw. Hernandez later scored on a wild pitch, and Brandon Mikell’s sacrifice fly padded the Tigers lead to five runs.
TSU reliever Dakota Laufenberg went the final 4 1/3 innings, allowing one run, four hits and three walks while striking out five to pick up the win. Starter Abel Flores pitched five innings of shutout ball, allowing three hits and a walk, while fanning four. Josh Long and Mathias Meintie tossed a combined 2 1/3 innings of shutout middle relief.
“The bullpen did a good job all weekend long,” Robertson said. “We faced a very good hitting team. I thought our guys did a good job adjusting. No doubt, it was the kids that started that gave us some good innings to keep us in the games. (Dakota) is one of those kids when we put the ball in his hands, he can perform. He can walk the tight rope.”
Texas Southern limited Southeastern Louisiana to seven hits, while TSU pounded 12.
Smith went 3 for 5, Mikell was 2 for 5 with a home run and two RBI, and Norris and Joseph Bryant each collected two hits for the Tigers.
“We’re on a high right now, but it doesn’t surprise me or anyone else on the bus,” Robertson said as his team made its way back to Houston. “We know we have a good ballclub. We know we can compete with Division I teams.’