The Tuskegee University Golden Tigers started the 2017 season by sweeping Selma University, a perennial independent powerhouse, 11-4 and 15-5 in a double-hitter on February 3. Selma entered the game ranked number 7 in the Black College Nines’ HBCU Preseason Baseball Poll. Tuskegee, unranked in the preseason poll, pounded out 11 hits and was led by a two home run performance from Ricky Green, who drove in 4 runs.
Unlike previous years, the Golden Tigers Baseball team is off to a fast start. Tuskegee typically starts slow before making a run for the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (S.I.A.C.) Championship.
In the first game of the season, Tuskegee had four players get at least two hits. In addition to Green, they were Jalen Luter, who went 2-3 with a double and 3 RBIs, Matthew Reed 2-4 with a double and 1 RBI and Gemini Jackson, who went 2-3 and scored 1 run. Green was joined in the home run derby by Joseph Mauldin. Trey Nelson went the distance for Tuskegee picking up his first win of the season. He held the Selma Bulldogs to 4 runs on 10 hits. The fleet footed Golden Tigers swiped 3 bases.
In the second game, Tuskegee put 9 runs on the board in the first inning and never looked back. They exploded for 10 hits and were again led by Ricky Green, who hit his third home run of the young season. Green went 2-2 and drove in 2 runs. Ryan Green, no relations to Ricky, chipped in 3 hits in 3 at bats. The Westlake High grade from College Park, Georgia, drove in 2 runs and scored 2 runs. Eugene Mabota pitched five strong innings and picked up his first win.
The following day, the Golden Tigers split a doubleheader with Clark-Atlanta University dropping the first game 6-5 as Clark-Atlanta scored an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh inning to win the game. For Tuskegee, Travias Hylton homered to left field and Jalen Luter went 2-4 with 2 rbi.
In the second game, Tuskegee shut out Clark-Atlanta 10-0 behind a one-hitter tossed by Joseph Mauldin, who struck out 17 of the 22 batters he faced in the seven inning ball game. The senior flame thrower from Lancaster, California matched his personal best single game strike out mark, which he set against Lane College last season. Ricky Green, a power-hitter from Tampa, Florida continued on his torrid hitting pace going 3-4 and driving in 3 runs. Lane Williams went yard for his first homer of the season.
First year Head Coach Reginald Hollins said of his team’s quick start, “I feel that the guys have gotten off to a great start offensively and on the bump.”
Defensively the Golden Tigers have committed 10 errors in the first four games. Hollins said, “We have some things to clean up defensively, but we are a young team that competes and soaks up knowledge each and every inning.”
Hollins has to be pleased with his team’s work on the bases. His base runners have racked up 10 stolen bases in 11 attempts.
“I am glad to get my guys some experience and much needed at bats,” Hollins said assessing his team’s fast start.
Harold Michael Harvey is an award winning journalist, former lawyer, political pundit, novelist, essayist and publisher. He earned a degree in Political Science from Tuskegee Institute and a Juris Doctorate degree from Atlanta Law School.