The Jackson State baseball team won its 15th Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship by beating the Prairie View A&M Panthers 6-2 Sunday at LaGrave Field.
With the win JSU (34-20) picks up its first conference championship since 2000. The title is also the first for head coach Omar Johnson at Jackson State.
“It feels good to win this championship,” said Johnson. “We thought we had good enough teams in years past, but have not been able to get it done. You have to have some good breaks and I guess you have to be patient.”
The Tigers never trailed in the game and scored their first two runs of the game in the third inning when Gary Thomas and Bryce Taylor scored. The Panthers cut the lead to 2-1 in the fourth. JSU quickly responded scoring two runs in the fifth when Charles Tillery and Taylor scored on a Jose Cruz single to make the score 4-1.
JSU added a run in the sixth, as Stephen Curtis doubled to score Aneko Knowles and another in the eighth when Nick Marigny scored on a Curtis groundout. PVAM scored in the ninth to make the final score 6-2.
Alexander Juday (7-4), who was named the tournament MVP, pitched the complete game en route to the win. In nine innings of action he allowed nine hits and had nine strikeouts. Juday recorded his sixth complete game of the season.
“Juday started the season as our set up man,” said Johnson. “But when we got some players hurt he stepped up as a number one pitcher.”
Third baseman Gary Thomas finished with two hits and a run in the championship game. Cruz and Curtis each recorded a hit and two RBI.
The game will be aired in its entirety Monday, May 20 at 9:00 p.m. on ESPNU. The Tigers will represent the SWAC in the 2013 NCAA Division I Championships. JSU
- Other Quotes and Odds and Ends -
Former head coach Robert “Bob” Braddy – “My hat goes off to coach Omar Johnson and the Tigers. The team did an outstanding job and played with a lot of enthusiasm. Coach Johnson has worked extremely hard to get to this point. “
2013 SWAC All-Tournament team (plus tournament stats)
MVP – Alexander Juday – 2-0 record, 1.06 ERA, 17 innings pitched, 13 hits and 13 strikeouts
Aneko Knowles – .333 batting average, 4 hits, 4 runs, 2-3 in stolen bases
Charles Tillery -.231 batting average, 3 hits (2 doubles), 3 runs, 2 RBI, 1-1 in stolen bases
Ethan Bright – .235 batting average, 4 hits, 2 runs, 3 RBI