Fans outside of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) need to start paying attention to what has been happening on the diamond at Jackson State. There has been some serious baseball being played there by a team that has gone virtually unnoticed.
Jackson State currently stands at 27-18 overall and 13-6 in SWAC conference play as of Friday with its 9-6 victory over division foe Alabama State in the battle for first place. The Tigers are also ranked No. 3 in Black College Nines (BCN) HBCU Baseball Top 10 Poll and they just happen to be on a 15-game winning streak, which is the longest active streak in NCAA Division I in the country and ties the longest streak this season held by Tennessee.
If they can win the next game this weekend against ASU, it will give them the longest winning streak this season.
Offensively Jackson State has been a machine since this past March 30, when they were 12-18 overall and 4-5 in the SWAC. As a team, they are batting .314 with 444 hits, 16 doubles which leads the conference and tied in on base percentage .405 which is tops in the conference with Southern University.
On the mound, the Tigers have the lowest earned run average (4.45), earned runs (180) and also lead the division in strikesouts (304).
As far as pitching and defense, Jackson State leads the SWAC in wins (27), lowest earned run average (4.45), runs allowed (233), earned runs allowed (180), walks allowed (187), lead in strikesouts at (304) home runs allowed (19) and second in fewest hits allowed (409). Since the streak, opponents are batting .250.
Defensively they are second lowest in the conference in errors (60) and are fielding percentage .960.
In the game against Alabama State, the Tigers plating the games first run. With one out in the top of the first inning, Chris Prentiss reached base on a fielding error by ASU second baseman Eriq White, stole second, advanced to third on an infield groundout and scored on Jaylyn Williams’ single through the left side for a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the first inning ASU would tie the game at 1-1. With two outs Noel Cheneau doubled down the left field line. The next batter, Santiago Garcia, singled to right field scoring Cheneau.
Both starters, ASU Jeremy Rivera and JSU Nikelle Galatas, would settle down for the next few innings until Jackson State would blow the game wide open with seven runs in the top of the fourth inning.
Williams led off the inning with a single, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Dezmond Chumley’s single to center field for a 2-1 lead. Next batter Wesley Reyes singled to left field, Chumley advanced to second. Tyler Culpepper singled through the left side scoring Chumley, Reyes advanced to second. Marshal Luiz’s single passed third base loaded the bases with Culpepper advancing to second and Reyes advancing to third. A wild pitch scored Reyes and both Luiz and Culpepper moved up a base, Prentiss singled down the right field line scoring Culpepper and Reyes increasing the lead to 6-1. The Tiger would add more runs in the inning. Equon Smith singled passed the shortstop and Prentiss moved to second. Williams’ second at bat in the inning was a hit by a pitch to load the bases for a second time in the inning. Then a Hernandez walk made it a 7-1 game. With the bases still loaded Chumley was hit by pitch scoring Smith, opening up an 8-1 lead.
Alabama State would score two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning on a two-run home run to right field off the bat of Yamil Pagan cutting the deficit to 8-3. They would add two more runs in the eighth, but were still down 8-5. JSU would get a run back in the top of the ninth. Hernandez homered to right field adding more insurance for a 9-5 lead. The Hornets added another in the bottom of the ninth, but it was not enough as Jackson State picks up the 9-6 win.
At the plate, Prentiss drove home two runs, Williams had three hits in the game along with one run batted in, to go along with a stolen base. Hernandez scored one run one home run and two runs batted in, Chumley knocked in two RBIs and Cukpepper scored one run and recored two hits, one being a double, and a run batted in.
Galatas (7-3) got the win in 7.1 innings allowing 10 hits, five runs and walked a pair of batters, while striking out one. He induced 16 popups and four ground outs.
Kevin Perez, in relief, allowed just two hits, one run and one walk, while striking out two in 1.2 innings on the mound.
Alabama State’s Rivera took the lose and is now6-3.
Both teams will go back at it Saturday and Sunday afternoon with first place on the line in the SWAC Eastern Division.