Grambling State Draws Texas A&M in Bryan-College Station Regional

After A Thrilling Run Through the SWAC Tournament

Grambling State University baseball team pose for a photo after defeating Jackson State 14-11 to win the SWAC Championship, (c) 2024 Harold Michael Harvey

Grambling State University (26-26), a number two western conference seed heading into last week’s SWAC Baseball Championship, left a week of thrills on the field at Russ Chandler Stadium in Midtown Atlanta. Grambling lost the opening game, then came back to beat every opponent placed in their way towards the Conference championship title, knocking off SWAC powerhouse Jackson State University 14-11 on a walk-off suicide squeeze bunt and a throwing error.

A Grambling State alumni wave a banner during the bottom of the ninth-inning rally. (c) 2024 Harold Michael Harvey

The Tigers will face Texas A&M University (40-13) in the first round of the NCAA Regional Tournament on Friday, May 31, 2024. The first pitch starts at noon. Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle, a two-time National Coach of the Year with a collegiate winning percentage of .669, leads the Aggies.

Schlossnagle, a former collegiate pitcher and pitching coach, has a top-notch staff led by Ryan Prager (8-1) with a 2.57 earned run average. Brad Rudis picked up five wins without a loss to go along with his stingy 1.67 earned run average. Evan Aschenbeck was five and one with a 1.78 earned run average, and Chris Cortez racked up an (8-1) record and a 3.31 earned run average.

Jackson Appel led Aggie hitters with a .330 average and had ten home runs. Jace LaViolette hit .321, hammered 28 homers, and drove in 73 runs. Braden Montgomery batted .317 with 26 home runs and 80 runs batted in, while Gavin Grahovac drove in 61 runs, with 21 home runs, to go along with his .319 batting average.

Grambling senior Cameron Bufford belted three home runs during the tournament and was named the SWAC Tournament 2024 MVP, (c) 2024 Harold Michael Harvey

This year’s Grambling squad is a team of destiny. In each of their SWAC tournament wins, the Tigers trailed multiple times in each game, but in the end, the team came up with last-minute heroics to send them back to Ruston, Louisiana, conference champions.

On May 19, 1973, the Tuskegee Institute Golden Tigers, led by head coach James Martin, became the first Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to win an NCAA Regional game. This scribe played right field in that 6-4 win over Bellarmine College. Jackson State University, led by Marvin Freeman on the mound and National College Baseball Hall of Fame coach Bob Braddy, became the first HBCU in the D-1 Era to win an NCAA Regional Tournament game.

Texas A&M takes on Grambling in the first round of NCAA post-season action on May 31, 2024. Photo from the broadcast.

There has never been an HBCU school to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals. Like all impossible goals, it is time for this mountain to be scaled. Grambling State is the right team in the right region to reach the next round on the road to Omaha.

In the Black College Nines SWAC Tournament preview, we opined that if Cameron Bufford got hot, he could propel his team to the tournament win. Bufford got hot, hitting three home runs, and although he went hitless in the championship game, he found a way to score the winning run after he was intentionally walked in the ninth inning. Coach Devin Pierre had an answer for every situation thrown at him last week; if he can keep his team fighting from start to finish and have a little faith in Jeremiah Newman, Grambling will shock the world yet again

Harold Michael Harvey, JD, is the Living Now 2020 Bronze Medal winner for his memoir Freaknik Lawyer: A Memoir on the Craft of Resistance. He is the author of a book on Negro Leagues Baseball, The Duke of 18th & Vine: Bob Kendrick Pitches Negro Leagues Baseball. He writes feature stories for Harvey is a member of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, HBCU-Pro Sports Media Association, and the Black College Legends and Pioneers Committee for the National College Baseball Hall of Fame. Harvey is an engaging speaker. Contact Harvey at [email protected]

2 comments for “Grambling State Draws Texas A&M in Bryan-College Station Regional

  1. Man, I miss Coach Martin. He was ahead of the game when showcasing his baseball players. As you probably recall, Martin had us in back-to-back NCAA Regional playoffs. Also, thanks for the kind remarks. I never know if anyone out there is paying attention.

  2. Congrats : I was a member of the 1966 AAMU / Alabama A&M Bulldogs. Co -Champions: those Opportunities were not available, just outstanding that they are today .
    P..S. : Your Coach James ( Big Foot ) Martin was my Roommate,Frat Brother. Use too bend his ear all of the time ,about baseball, he did not play , but U know Loved The Game . Enjoyed your coverage. Stay the course
    Donald Threatt AAMU / All SIAC : football LB : Baseball
    Pitcher : Donald E Threatt

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