As we take a look back at last week’s HBCU baseball action, the storyline begins with some surprising teams who are making plenty of noise.
Grambling State University (10-13) concluded its week with a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) series three-game sweep of Prairie View A&M University. The Tigers’ sizzling bats were a key ingredient in its last six victories. After starting the season losing five of the first six games, the Tigers ball club has won six of its last eight games. Grambling’s Robert Lopez’ third-inning grand slam highlighted a seven-run inning as the Tigers picked up a 13-6 win in the doubleheader finale this past weekend. Earlier in the series, Lopez hit his second home run of game two as Grambling State won 8-4 to clinch the series. He had six runs batted in during the thee games. Also, starters Daniel Barnetts, Wesley Drain and Diamyn Hall each had hits in both games. Grambling has a mid-week game against Louisiana Tech University, then a weekend three-game series with conference foe University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
Miles College ranked No. 3 in our Black College Nines HBCU Top 10 small school poll has sprinted out to a 15-10 record thus far. The Golden Bears had an eight-game winning streak earlier this season. Miles has shown it is equipped to play with a crop of half dozen batters hitting well over .300. The Golden Bears Keland Smith (.423), Justin Langdale (.357), Jimmy Brown, Jr., (355), Aaron Williams (350), Xavius Burden (.311), and Gary Mason, Jr (300) are attacking the baseball with timely hitting, pushing runners across the plate. Pitching has also stepped up. Reliever Christopher Elias has added some timely pitching support. In a recent 6-4 come from behind win against the University of Montevallo, Elias pitched out of a bases-loaded jam to seal the win. Miles has one mid-week, non-conference doubleheader contest against Concordia College then returns to action for an April 7th matchup with the University of Alabama-Huntsville.
West Virginia State University has bounced back after a rocky start (1-5) to open the season and has put together a string of wins. The Yellow Jackets club has won nine of its last twelve games. The turning around has been pitching. West Virginia has a stable of stout arms led by senior Curtis Johnson (2-1) 0.00 ERA, freshman Kip Brewer (1-0) 4.00 ERA, Joshua Falbo (3-1) 4.50 ERA and Colby Gainer (3-0) 1.45 ERA thus far this season. During this past weekend sweep against Fairmont State University, Falbo went the distance on the mound striking out eight while allowing only seven hits. The Yellow Jackets play two weekend Mountain East Conference (MEC) doubleheaders, one against Wheeling Jesuit University and the second with West Liberty University.
Two teams heading downward are Wiley College and Virginia State University who each began the year in our preseason Top 10 poll… Virginia State at No. 4 and Wiley at No. 9. Both teams have gone in opposite direction since opening day.
Wiley, since defeating Martin Methodist College 2-1 on opening day, has gone 10-23. The road won’t get any easier in the rugged Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC). The Wildcats ballclub, now (11-14), has scheduled a three-game weekend series with Prairie View A&M University.
Virginia State University (2-18) has lost nine of its last ten games.
Other teams hoping to improve in the win column include Lincoln University of Missouri (1-25) and Albany State University (7-24). Lincoln University has a mid-week game with Southwest Baptist then a Mid-American Intercollegiate Conference (MAIC) series with Central Missouri University.