By Habtom Keleta – Grambling State Asst. AD for Media Relations
Grambling pours in 3 runs in 8th inning to defeat Prairie View
GRAMBLING, La. | The Tigers took care of business in game one of its Southwestern Athletic Conference weekend series with a 5-2 victory over Prairie View A&M at Wilbert Ellis Field at R.W.E Jones Park. The win marks the fourth straight conference victory for the Grambling State Tigers baseball team.
Grambling (15-19 overall, 12-4 SWAC) jumped on top of the Panthers in its first at bat when graduate student Cameron Phelts smacked a home run to right field to give GSU a 1-0 lead.
In the third inning, sophomore third shortstop Cameron Bufford picked up an RBI off an error that resulted in catcher Ben Avila scoring another run for the Tigers. Solid pitching from starting pitcher Kerry Boykins, Jr. and firm defense from the Tigers kept Prairie View scoreless through five innings as GSU led 2-0 in the low scoring affair.
However, the Panthers finally broke its scoreless drought and scored runs in both the sixth and seventh inning to tie the game at 2-2. GSU pitcher and graduate student Austin Rotramel (1-2) replaced Boykins, Jr. and struck out two Panther batters in 2.0 innings of work while allowing only two hits on the evening.
Grambling responded in typical Tigers fashion with three quick runs in the eighth inning to take the lead for good and seal the deal on any comeback attempt when Cameron Phelts produced a double to left center to open the inning, then Bufford followed with a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance Phelts to third.
Next, power hitter and graduate student Jahmoi Percival ripped a deep line drive to left field to bring home Phelts for the game-winning run. Moments later, with the bases loaded, fellow Tiger Rafael Ramirez, III. generated an RBI as Percival crossed home plate off an error from Panthers catcher Tyler Gordon, who bobbled a soft toss from relief pitcher Derrick Curry.
Boykins finished the game with three strikeouts, two earned runs and seven hits in 7.0 innings pitched, but it was teammate Rotramel that was credited with the victory for GSU.
Kyle Smith (3-3) picked up the loss for Prairie View A&M (10-16 overall, 10-7 SWAC), who lost its second game in a row after a 14-0 loss to Baylor earlier in the week.
Speedster Phelts finished 2-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored and one RBI for the Tigers.
Grambling State will host Prairie View in a doubleheader on Saturday, May 1, to continue its weekend series. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. at Wilbert Ellis Field at R.W.E. Jones Park.