NEW ORLEANS, La. – Texas Southern captured the 2017 SWAC baseball championship with a marathon 4-2 win over Alabama State to win its second conference championship in three years, and fourth in school history.
Texas Southern would jump out to the early lead. Blake Hicks would hit an RBI single to center field to give the Tigers the 1-0 advantage after the first inning.
The Tigers added another run in the top half of the fourth. Tournament Most Valuable Player Christian Sanchez hit an RBI double to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead at that point.
Alabama State would answer in the bottom of the fourth. Gustavo Rios hit a RBI single to drive in the Hornets first fun of the game and make the score 2-1.
The Hornets looked like it would take the lead in the bottom of the sixth. However, Anthony Martinez got Texas Southern out of the jam to keep the Tigers’ one-run lead.
Alabama State tied the game in the bottom of the sixth. Freshman Cage Cox hit a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at 2-2.
The score remained 2-2 and the game went into extra innings. The game turned into a pitcher’s duel until the 13th inning. Gerrick Jimenez hit an RBI single to give the Tigers the 3-2 lead. Jose Cabreja added an infield fly that would allow Gaudencio Lucca to score to give the Tigers a two run lead heading to the bottom of the inning.
Michael Villanueva retired the side in the bottom of the frame to give the Tigers the win.
Sanchez went one-for-four with one RBI on the day to pace the Tigers offensively. Texas Southern only used two pitchers in the win. Martinez threw 7.0 innings, allowing just six hits and striking out four. Michael Villanueva went 6.0 innings in relief, allowing just two hits, no runs and striking out three.
Sanchez went one for-four from the plate with one RBI in the win.
Alabama State also only used just two pitchers in the game. Starter Tyler Howe threw 9.0 innings allowing two runs on four hits and striking out six. Austin Bizzle would come on in relief. Bizzle would throw 4.0 innings, allowing two runs on two hits and striking out five as he and Howe combined to retire 20 batters in a row at one point.
Cox went 2-for-5 with one run scored in the loss for the Hornets.
The All-Tournament Team was also announced. The entire team is below:
Cody Den Beste – Prairie View A&M
Austin Bizzle – Alabama State
Christian Sanchez – Texas Southern
Bryce Brown – Jackson State
Marshawn Taylor – Grambling State
Steven Williams – Prairie View A&M
Tyler Howe – Alabama State
Joseph Estrada – Alabama State
Anthony Martinez- Texas Southern
Ray Hernandez – Alabama State
Michael Villanueva – Texas Southern
Gaudencio Lucca – Texas Southern