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NEW ORLEANS – The Jackson State baseball team suffered its first loss of the 2017 Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship Tournament Thursday, May 18, falling 8-6 to Texas Southern in a close 10-inning game.
Jackson State grabbed an early lead in the competition, scoring a first-inning run off a sacrifice fly by Jesus Santana. The lead was short lived, lasting to the bottom of the second when a TSU batter delivered a three-run homer to take a 3-1 lead.
TSU expanded its lead to 6-1 with a homer for two RBIs in the in the fourth and a ground out for a run in the fifth.
Mark Watson, junior right-hand pitcher, entered the game in the sixth inning for JSU and was able to keep TSU scoreless and hitless for three innings with six strikeouts to stifle the Texas Southern offense and put Jackson State back in the game.
While Watson kept TSU batters in check, his teammates found their rhythm at the plate.
The first sign of the JSU comeback came in the seventh when Cornelius Copeland and CJ Newsome scored on a Bryce Brown single to cut the Texas Southern lead to 6-3.
In the eighth, a series of TSU fielding mistakes allowed Jackson State to score a fourth run and a solo home run by Brown in the top of the ninth put JSU in striking distance of the Texas Southern.
Still in the ninth, Jonah Hargroves entered the game as a pinch runner after Sam Campbell reached first base on balls. Stephan Vidal singled to third base to move Hargroves to second and steals second as Hargroves attempts to steal third. A throwing error by the TSU catcher allowed Hargroves to take third and home to tie the game 6-6.
In the bottom of the ninth, Jose Tirado entered the game to relieve Watson and close the game, preventing a TSU run to force a 10th inning.
JSU went scoreless in the top of the 10th and a TSU homer for two RBIs in the bottom of the inning sealed the game for Texas Southern for a 8-6 final.
Bryce Brown led the Tigers at the plate with four hit (one home run) on five at-bats with one run and three RBIs.
Jose Tirado received his first loss on the mound the season for a 3-1 record overall. He pitched 1.1 innings for one hit against, two earned runs, and one walk.
Jackson State will be back in action on Friday, May 18 as the battle to stay in the race. The Tigers face Southern for the second time in the tournament at 9 a.m. Keep up with the action: HERE.