Alcorn State Comes Back To Defeat UAPB 5-4 In Opening Day Thriller




Alcorn State Sports Information


NEW ORLEANS, La. – Trailing 4-0 after six innings, the Alcorn State University baseball program rallied for two runs in the seventh and three in the eighth to beat Arkansas-Pine Bluff 5-4 in the season-opener Friday at Maestri Field as part of the Andre Dawson Classic.

The Braves (1-0) cut the deficit to 4-2 in the seventh with a two-run bomb by sophomore Kyle Jenkins over the left field fence. Alcorn further chipped into it, 4-3, with a solo shot by senior Kirt Cormier in the eighth.

The game-winner came with two outs in the eighth when junior Hunter Wilson blasted a two-run shot to right center to put the Braves ahead for good 5-4.

“I was very proud of the way our guys hung in there and kept their composure even when UAPB got out to a 4-0 lead. The guys didn’t quit, they never wavered in their beliefs, and they persevered through it,” said Alcorn head coach Bretton Richardson. “We emphasize that no matter what the score or situation is in a game, if we still have outs left then we are capable of coming back. We fought through it today and were able to come out on top.”

Senior Jahborus Smith entered on the mound in the bottom of the eighth and tossed 2.0 innings of no-hit ball to close it down and earn a save. He struck out three of the six batters he faced.

“We wanted to get Jahborus some work today because we’re planning on starting him next week. The plan coming into today was to give him one inning, but he breezed through it so quickly that we decided to send him back out there for the ninth. I was happy with the way he threw the ball today and hopefully he continues to do that,” Richardson said.

Alcorn fanned 13 UAPB (0-1) hitters total in the game as senior Carlos Lopez started and struck out 10 in 6.0 innings. Junior Zachary Perez picked up the win after tossing a scoreless seventh frame.

Six different Braves recorded hits in the match. In addition to homers by Jenkins, Cormier and Wilson, senior Justin Barnasingled up the middle in the fifth, junior Brandon Barna hit one to center in the seventh and senior Der’Vincent Hamiltonsingled to left in the eighth.

With a pair of walks, senior Wallace Rios Jimenez extended his on-base streak to 42 straight games. The streak is now over the course of three seasons. Rios is a SWAC Preseason All-Conference First-Team selection.

For UAPB, Austin Toth and Davion White each tallied a multi-hit game. Peyton Burks got the start and was given a no-decision after allowing two runs in 6.1 innings. Nathan Sawrie tossed 1.2 innings and was handed the loss after surrendering three runs.

Alcorn won its season-opener for the first time since 2012 when it knocked off Air Force 7-5 on a neutral field in Baton Rouge.

The Braves will play their second of three games over the weekend Saturday at 3 p.m. when they take on Prairie View A&M. They’ll close out the Andre Dawson Classic on Sunday with a 3 p.m. start against Grambling State. All of the games this weekend are non-conference affairs.

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