In a battle of astonishingly similar feline mascots, the Lady Tigers of Texas Southern University defeated the Lady Tigers of Grambling State in both games of a doubleheader on Friday, April 5, 2019 with the scores being 11-0 and 12-0 respectively.
Thanks to the pair of victories, TSU (11-20) strengthened their hold of first place in the Western Division of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, whereas Grambling State (14-17) sunk further down in the standings for a 2-9 league record. Additionally, they remain undefeated in conference play after nine games. Their last regular-season defeat came on Apr. 28 of last year where they lost to Prairie View 9-8 for the first game of a doubleheader.
Both games featured excellent pitching performances from freshman players. In the first game, Naomi Reyes threw for a shutout on account of five innings, three allowed hits, and six strikeouts.
For the second game, Destiny Ricks completed her assignment by pitching for four innings, all the while not allowing any runs like her predecessor. She also inflicted three allowed hits, two walks, and one strikeout to her name. However, during her outing, she fell victim to a couple of line drive hits that shot back immediately after letting the ball go for the pitch. Although she was harmed, specifically in her fingers where it was hit by those shots, according to TSU head coach Worley Barker, they were only bruises, so it doesn’t look like she’ll be sidelined with injury.
Nevertheless, coach Barker was elated over his pitchers and how well they played for the team.
“The both threw good games,” Barker said. “They gave us an opportunity to make plays which our defense did, so I was very pleased with both of them.”
Starting with the first game, freshman Lauryn Banks, the same person that hit the walk-off 2-run home run in the Mar. 29 game against PVAMU, went deep again by hitting a solo shot to center field in the bottom of the third. She finished the game by going two-for-three.
Sophomore Julia Bilbao went two-for-three as well in the batter’s box for three runs batted in (RBI), with one of her hits coming in the form of a triple, which happened in the bottom half of the fourth inning. Sophomore Tevanae Tate lent her hand in the game too by hitting a 2-run home run in the bottom of the second inning which increased her team’s lead for a score of 6-0.
Add all of that with a pair of 2-RBI hits by freshman Haley Castro and senior Marissa Padron, and the Tigers would up signalling a called game after five innings.
The second game followed the same story as the first, with the TSU bats catching fire early on. After taking advantage of a wild pitch that came out of Grambling’s pitcher Kennyshae Beasley’s hand, TSU proceeded to bat around the order, ultimately putting up a 4-0 on the scoreboard. During this stretch, junior Madi Marek hit an RBI single, Banks drove home two runs in another single, and Marek herself came home by another wild pitch.
After an uneventful second inning, the home team’s bats lit up Grambling’s pitching once again in the bottom of the third. A double by Marek and two walks by Padron and Banks gave TSU one more run for a 5-0 score. Then, Paige Jackson, who pinch-hit for junior Terren Vinson, hit a grand slam to blow the game open for good and send her teammates into a stream of hysteria. Jackson’s blast was the first ever in her collegiate career. With the supporting cast even getting their fair share of the labor, everything seemed to go right for the Tigers.
With the game well in their hands, coach Barker handed out an array of pinch-hitting duties to the rest of the team that didn’t make the starting rosters. Though it was out of the ordinary for the casual fan to look at, Barker had his reasons for ordering the switches.
“That’s our goal,” Barker said. “When we have an opportunity for our kids to play, we give it to them. And it gives our starters an opportunity to rest and see how the game looks on the sideline.”
The Lady Tigers look to close out the 3-game series by adding another win to their already-lengthy winning streak. They take on Grambling State once again, April 6. at noon, in Memorial Park (time subject to change).