Baseball Kicks-Off the 2019 Season At The Andre Dawson Classic

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NCAA DI/SWAC/Baseball

 

Prairie View A&M Sports Information

 

PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas – The Prairie View A&M baseball team will begin its 2019 season as they take a part in the Andre Dawson Classic/ Urban Youth Invitational in New Orleans, La. This event is sponsored by the Major League Baseball Organization.

The event was designed to highlight baseball programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).  This will be the 12th year the Classic has been held.  This year’s line-up features seven HBCU teams, the most in the event’s history.  The event is named after the Florida A&M player, who before embarking on a 21-year pro career with the Montreal Expos (now Washington Nationals), Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, and Florida Marlins, the legend is one of only two HBCU alumni enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Other participating teams include; Grambling, Florida A&M, Arkansas Pine Bluff and Southern.

“Opening weekend in New Orleans will be a great experience for us,” said head PVAMU baseball coach Auntwan Riggins.  “This will be my fourth year being able to participate in this Classic and I am grateful and blessed to be a part of this.  Playing in the Andre Dawson Tournament means a lot to me because it gives us an opportunity to play teams that we wouldn’t normally get a chance to play.  Also, to play teams from the east that we normally would not see until tournament time.  It will be good for us to get out there and see what we are made of and to see how we need to get better as the season goes.”

The three-day event has the Panthers taking on SWAC east foe the Alcorn State Braves at 12 p.m.  Saturday will feature a game against another east SWAC team Alabama State for a night game starting at 7 p.m.  The Panthers will wrap up the Andre Dawson Classic Sunday against Eastern Kentucky at 11 a.m.

Live stats will only be available for the Alabama State game on Saturday.

Prairie View A&M finished the 2018 season 14-40 overall and 8-16 in SWAC play making their third straight appearance in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament under Riggins.  Several Panthers who made significant contributions last season are back including, juniors Xavier JeffersonTyler Laux, and sophomore Derrick Curry.

Jefferson finished his season batting a .282 while driving in 17 runs.  Laux wrapped up last season with five victories to his credit to go along with 27 strikeouts, while Curry tallied 37 strikeouts.

“Last year for me personally I had a chance to meet Andre Dawson,” Jefferson said.  “I am looking forward to seeing him again.  From a team standpoint, we are always excited to go to New Orleans and display our talents against some of the best HBCU’s in the nation.  So we are just looking forward to going out there and get after it.”

On the mound, starting in Friday’s game against Alcorn for the Panthers will be redshirt sophomore Tracy Warren, Curry will start on Saturday against the Hornets and junior transfer Kyle Smith will face Eastern Kentucky on Sunday.

Last season, Alcorn State (13-39, 7-17 SWAC) beat the Panthers in the Classic, finishing fifth in the SWAC’s Eastern Division.  Alabama State (30-22, 18-6 SWAC) defeated the Panthers twice in postseason play en route to the SWAC Championship game, falling to Texas Southern for the second consecutive year.  Eastern Kentucky (30-31, 15-15 OVC), who is a part of the Ohio Valley Conference fell to Morehead State in the semi-final round of the OVC Tournament.

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