Alcorn State Braves Rally Past Jackson State To Win Series Opener


Alcorn State



Alcorn State Sports Information


BILOXI, Miss. – Trailing after seven innings, the Alcorn State University baseball program strung together a series of hits resulting in three runs in the eighth to come back and defeat Jackson State 5-4 Friday at MGM Park in the first of a three-game series.

Alcorn (7-10, 3-1 SWAC) was down 3-2 entering the eighth when junior Kirt Cormier got it started with a one-out single to left field. After senior Walter Vives walked, both base runners advanced a base after a wild pitch. Senior Justin Barna tied the game with an RBI after he reached a fielder’s choice.

The Braves took the lead 4-3 on a double to left field by senior Jason Sanez. Senior Patrick McMahon tacked on an insurance run on a sacrifice fly to center field which plated Barna.

After the Tigers (13-8, 4-3 SWAC) got one back in the bottom of the eighth, Alcorn called upon sophomore closer Conrado Skepple to record the final three outs. Skepple registered a pair of strikeouts to earn his fourth save of the season which is a league-best.

Vives led the Braves with a three-for-four day at the plate with a run and an RBI. It was his sixth multi-hit game and second three-hit game of the season.

Cormier and sophomore Brandon Barna both went two-for-four at the dish. Junior Wallace Rios Jimenez led-off the game with a double down the right field line to extend his on-base streak to 14 games.

On the mound, junior Jahborus Smith tossed 5.1 innings and struck out four. He ended with a no-decision. Sophomore Carlos Lopez threw 2.2 innings out of the bullpen and picked up the win after striking out four. He improved his record to 3-1 on the year.

JSU was guided by Sam Campbell who posted a four-for-four day at the plate with three RBI. Joshua Santiago (3-2) took the loss after entering the game in the eighth inning.

Alcorn’s first run of the game came in the first inning. Rios scored from second on a single to right center by Cormier.

The Braves made it 2-0 in the third on a two-out double to left center by Vives. It scored junior A.J. Makarewicz who walked and stole second.

The Tigers took the lead after scoring one in the fourth and two more in the sixth.

The teams ended even with 10 hits apiece. The Braves have tallied 30 hits over their last three games which included 20 in a two-game series at Arkansas.

Games two and three of the series will be played in Jackson, Mississippi at Bob Braddy Field. Game two is slated for 3 p.m. Saturday, while game three is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday.

Quoting Alcorn head coach Bretton Richardson
On the eighth inning
“We had some good at-bats and were able to get a few hits out of them. We got the runners in scoring position, got a good sacrifice and we executed when we needed to. This was a good win for us and we’re very fortunate to come out on top tonight.”

On Conrado Skepple entering in a one-run game in the ninth and getting the save
“He’s done the same thing every time he takes the mound since he’s been here. Whether there’s guys on base or he comes in to start the inning, he’s a groundball machine. He comes in and gets guys to ground out. Conrado has really worked hard to get to the point where he is now and it’s definitely paying off for him.”

On the back-and-forth battle against a rival institution
“Regardless of the score, we know that it’s a nine-inning ball game and our guys never quit. We didn’t hang our heads when we were down and we were able to string together some good at-bats. Our pitching kept us in the game and gave the bats the opportunity to score a few runs and win the game. It was a team effort tonight and I’m proud of the guys because they’ve worked hard. The guys are happy to get this win tonight, but we know we still have two more games that we have to play this weekend.”

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