Alabama State relief pitcher Michael Tellado struck out Prarie View pinch-hitter Trent Kinney with the bases loaded, preserving a 5-4 victory in the Southwestern Athletic Conference baseball tournament Wednesday at Wesley Barrow Stadium.
The win pits the Hornets (31-27 overall, 19-6 SWAC), the East Division’s No. 1 seed against Southern (18-22, 14-8), the No. 2 seed in the West, at 3 p.m. Thursday. The teams have not met this season.
Prairie View will play Jackson State in the tournament’s first elimination game.
“This game could have gone either way,” Alabama State coach Mervyl Melendez said. “I thought our pitchers did an excellent job, and we were tought at the end.”
Starter Joseph Camacho pitched a shutout as the Hornets took a 4-0 lead into the sixth. However, the Panthers then broke lose for three runs in the sixth, with Joseph Mack’s one-out, two-run single the key hit.
Prairie View came to 5-4 in the eighth when Angel Avalos scored on Anthony Fernandez’s two-out single. However, reliever Michael Estevez fanned Cannon Wrye with two on.
Tellado entered after in the ninth after the bases were loaded against Armando Ruiz with one out. Tellado struck out catcher/reliever Grant Dougherty, then got Kinney to swing at a 3-2 pitch outside.
GRAMBLING 8, ALABAMA A&M 3: The Tigers, the No. 3 seed in the West, jumped on the Bulldogs with four runs in the first inning.
Grambling State will play Texas Southern. Alabama A&M will Alcorn State in an elimination game.
Catcher Roger Diaz and third baseman Jaiden France each drove in three runs, with Diaz going 3-for-4. Diaz hit a run-scoring single in the first and France had a two-run hit.
Ike O’Bear (3-6) gave up 11 hits in 7.1 innings but allowed just three runs.
TEXAS SOUTHERN 5, ALCORN STATE 2: Alcorn State first baseman Collin Carroll’s errant throw to third base after fielding a bunt by TSU catcher Javier Valdez in the eighth inning enabled base-runners Zach Weltz and Ryan Lazo to score, sealing the victory.
Carroll had homered in the sixth, bringing the Braves to 3-2.