NEW ORLEANS, La. - Jackson State repeated as SWAC Baseball Tournament champions with a 9-8 win over top seeded Alabama State on Sunday at MLB UYA at Wesley Barrow Stadium.
It's the fourth time JSU has won back-to-back league championships.
With one out, a runner on first, and facing the potential winning run at the plate twice, relief pitcher Alex Juday (3) struck out back-to-back runners to secure the come from behind win for JSU (31-23) and earn the save.
Starting pitcher, Desmond Russell (9-4), was named tournament MVP, finishing with three strike outs for the game and 11 for the tournament. For the game, he gave up six earned runs in five innings on the bump.
Trailing 5-2, the Tigers posted runs to take control of the game. Charles Tillery led off with single before scoring on Stephen Curtis triple to right center. Aneko Knowles followed with a sacrifice fly to bring in Curtis. Gary Thomas singled to center field while Russell capped the three-run inning with a single to drive in Thomas to even the game at five.
Russell finished 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored. Tillery hit 3-of-4 with a RBI and two runs. Knowles and Melvin Rodriguez posted two RBI apiece.
After five innings, JSU trailed 6-5, but hammered three runs to regain the lead in the sixth. Russell and Tilur Smith walked to put runners on first and second, Rodriguez singled to left field with a throwing error putting him on second, allowing Russell to score, and moving Smith to third to knot the score at six. Jose Cruz registered a single to score a run and Bryce Taylor's sacrifice fly added another to give JSU an 8-6 lead.
ASU (37-20) retaliated at the bottom of the inning. Waldyvan Estrada reached first on a fielder's choice and scored after Raul Perez slapped a shot down the left field line to narrow the gap, 8-7.
The Tigers scored at the top of the eighth to stay out front 9-7, Richard Amion hit a home run to keep the Hornets alive. However, following the dinger, Ceasar Rivera flied out, Waldyvan Estrada struck out looking, and Perez popped out to second to end the innings and cao ASU's scoring.
Estrada and Dexter Price hit home runs early in the game to give ASU a 5-2 lead. Price finished 2-of-5 with three RBI and a run scored. Estarda had two RBI going 2-for-5 with three runs scored. Hunter McIntosh (3-3) was saddled with the loss facing three batters on the day and giving up three runs.
JSU will receive the SWAC's automatic bid and will play a team to be announced during the NCAA baseball Selection Show on May 26, at 11 a.m. CT on ESPNU.
SWAC BASEBALL ALL TOURNAMENT TEAM
JULIO NUNEZ - ALABAMA A&M
SCOTTY PEAVEY - ALCORN STATE
JUAN BUENO - GRAMBLING STATE
DOMINIC HARRIS - PRAIRIE VIEW A&M
GREG SALCIDO - PRAIRIE VIEW A&M
CHAD FLICK - PRAIRIE VIEW A&M
FELIX GOMEZ - TEXAS SOUTHERN
EMMANUEL MARRERO - ALABAMA STATE
RICHARD AMION - ALABAMA STATE
WALDYVAN ESTRADA - ALABAMA STATE
ALEX JUDAY - JACKSON STATE
SWAC BASEBALL TOURNAMENT MVP
DESMOND RUSSELL - JACKSON STATE