Texas Southern Tigers Open Series At Incarnate Word With Thrilling 9-8 Win

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SAN ANTONIO – The Tigers of Texas Southern University returned from a five-day hiatus with an exciting 9-8 win Friday at the University of the Incarnate Word. 

Kamren Dukes went 3-for-5 – including a two-run home run during a five-run TSU fourth inning – to lead five Tigers with multiple hits as Texas Southern improved its record to 11-18. Olajide Oloruntimilehin also went 3-for-5 for the Tigers, who improved to 4-5 against Southland Conference opponents.

Seth Oliver pitched three and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief for the Tigers, striking out three batters and allowing only two hits. Chris Suarez earned his first save for the Tigers by pitching a scoreless ninth. 

After a back-and-forth game over the first five innings, Suarez’ ninth-inning performance capped four consecutive innings without either team scoring. He gave up a leadoff triple to Ryan Gonzalez, but Suarez stranded him at third after inducing two groundouts and a strikeout (with a walk mixed in) to the last four hitters.

The Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead after a half-inning with back-to-back RBI singles from Oloruntimilehin and Brett Hicks, but UIW tied the game with two runs in the bottom of the first.

The hometown Cardinals were poised to take control of the game after taking a 6-3 lead with four runs in the bottom of the third inning. However, the Tigers responded with five runs of their own in their next at-bat. The inning opened with singles from Hicks and Trey LeBlanc, who then moved into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt from Ricky Urbano.

TSU trimmed the Cardinal lead to 6-5 with Keanu Van Kuren’s two-RBI single. Van Kuren did not spend much time on the bases, as Dukes knocked a home run to left-centerfield. It was Dukes’ second home run of the season – and second in a TSU win over a Southland opponent. Dukes also homered in TSU’s 8-6 win at Abilene Christian earlier this season.

The Tigers capped the scoring in the fourth with an RBI groundout from Christian Sanchez that scored Gaudencio Lucca. Jose Camacho added an RBI in the third inning that scored Dukes.

TSU got what turned out to be the game-winning run when Oloruntimilehin scored from second base on a fifth-inning error by UIW catcher Tyler Pettit.

Starting pitcher Michael Villanueva pitched four and one-third innings for Tigers. TSU has won three of the last four games he has started.

The Tigers return to action against Incarnate Word on Saturday at 2 p.m. at UIW’s Sullivan Field.

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