Jackson State University baseball will be well represented in the inaugural HBCU Swingman Classic as four Tigers have been selected to play in the All-Star game next month in Seattle, Washington.
JSU infielder Ty Hill, pitchers Erick Gonzalez and Jesse Caver, and outfielder Jatavis Melton were selected among 50 HBCU players from around the nation to play in the contest Friday, July 7 at 9:30 p.m. central time live on MLB Network.
Pro baseball Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. played a lead role in developing the HBCU Swingman Classic presented by T-Mobile & powered by the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation. The game will be played at the site of this year’s Major League Baseball All-Star game and home of the Seattle Mariners.
Hill (6-1, 210; Sr., Saltillo, Miss.) is a three-time All-SWAC selection and a two-time Black College Nines Elite honoree. Hill earned 1st-Team All-SWAC, Hitter of the Year, Newcomer of the Year, and Player of the Year honors in 2021, and second-team All-SWAC honors in 2022 and 2023.
This season, Hill batted .387 (3rd in the SWAC), was second in the SWAC and 10th in the nation in on-base percentage (.520), fifth in the SWAC in on-base plus slugging% (1.139), and tied for sixth in the league in slugging% (.619). Hill tied for ninth in the league in doubles (16), tied for 13th in hits (70), tied for seventh in triples (four), hit a career-high six home runs, and tied for 14th in RBI (53).
Gonzalez (5-10, 235; So., Bayamon, P.R.) was the Tigers’ closer out of the bullpen and earned second-team All-SWAC honors with a 1-3 record with a 4.22 ERA with eight saves in 27 appearances this season. Gonzalez struck out 64 hitters in only 53.1 innings pitched, with a more than 3-to-1 strikeouts to walk ratio (64 strikeouts, 21 walks). As the Tigers surged in the second half winning four of five conference series during the second half of league play, Gonzalez saved four wins and preserved a fifth, including back-to-back saves on consecutive days against Florida A&M.
Caver (6-0, 185; Gr., Solon, Oh.) posted a 6-4 record with a 5.27 ERA with 12 starts in 16 appearances this season. He struck out 68 batters in just under 72 innings pitched. Caver struck out a career-high 10 batters at Alcorn, and struck out five or more hitters eight times this season.
Melton (6-0, 185; Sr., Natchez, Miss.) set career highs in batting average (.320), home runs (four), RBI (39), runs (74 / 1st in SWAC), triples (four / t-7th in SWAC) and stolen bases (30 / 3rd in SWAC). Melton also had 14 doubles among his 62 hits on the season, including a game-winning walk-off grand slam against Bethune-Cookman.
Courtesy of Jackson State Athletic Department