Fayetteville, Ark. – The Grambling State Tigers mounted a comeback that was nothing less than heroic, however, their rally fell short in a, 9-8, loss to the Wildcats of Kansas State in the first elimination game of the Fayetteville Regional of the NCAA baseball championship.
The Tigers fell behind early giving up a run in the first and two runs in the second inning before they jumped on the scoreboard courtesy of a Jeremy Shelby double which scored Mychal Roby from second base.
Grambling would fall behind, 9-1, after the fifth before scratching and clawing their way back into the game. Justin Kelley led off the sixth with a triple to right center field and scored as Chris Wolfe grounded out at short.
The Tigers would stage their biggest inning in the seventh when Steve Kletke led off with a solo home run to left field. Roby and Shelby would single and double with one out respectively before Brandon Smith broke out of a hitting slump with a two RBI single, they would add another run as Kelley scored on a Wolfe single to centerfield.
Milt Barney led off the eighth inning with a single to leftfield to lead the Tigers final surge. Kletke was hit by a pitch which led to Barney scoring from second with a beautiful slide at home on a Roby infield single. Joe Gill, who was in to pinch run for Kletke, scored Grambling’s final run of the season on a Shelby sacrifice fly to right field.
Roby had a three-for-four day at the plate with two runs scored and a RBI to lead the Tigers. Shelby finished two-for-three scoring a run with two RBI’s, Smith and Mazierski each recorded two hits. Adrian Turner received the loss giving up nine runs in five innings before John Brown, Jamal Breaux and Richard Bautista combined to pitch for four close shutout innings.
For the Wildcats Mike Kindel and Chase Graskewicz had an identical day at the plate as they went three-for-four with two runs scored and an RBI. Kayvon Bahramzadeh picked up the win allowing only five runs in six and a third innings on the mound.
The Tigers remarkable season that included their first conference championship in 25 years came to an end in today’s loss. The Wildcats will face the loser of Arkansas versus Washington State in an elimination game tomorrow at 2:05 pm in Baum Stadium.