Soccer sweeps on the road, softball succeeds at home; GSU roundup

Grambling soccer’s Kailey Pena – photo by TAYTAPES870, courtesy

Staff Writer

With football sidelined by COVID-19 complications, baseball and softball provided hometown entertainment over the weekend for Grambling fans, while the Lady Tigers soccer team swept a pair on the road in conference play.

BASEBALL: Pivoting quickly after having the scheduled Southwestern Athletic Conference series against Prairie View postponed due to the Panthers’ COVID-19 issues, Grambling got Tennessee-Martin to visit for a three-game weekend series Saturday and Sunday.

The Skyhawks (9-10) took two of three, with Grambling prevailing 5-2 in Sunday’s first game. UTM rolled 18-4 on Saturday and pulled out a 12-inning 6-5 decision Sunday afternoon to capture the series win.

Rafael Ramirez drove in three runs and scored on a wild pitch for a fourth in the win by Grambling (5-14). Kerry Boykins Jr. tossed a two-hitter while striking out six for the Tigers, facing one over the minimum in a complete-game (seven inning) triumph, needing only 78 pitches.

In the third game, the teams traded three-run 11th innings before the Skyhawks won it on a sacrifice fly in the 12th.

SOCCER: Kailey Pena scored twice Sunday to continue her roll as Grambling won its third straight, jolting Jackson State 3-0 on the road. The Lady Tigers (5-2-1, 5-1-1) mashed Southern 4-1 on Friday in Baton Rouge.

The junior upped her season total to 11 goals while Britt Vernees saved seven shots in goal to earn the shutout.

At Southern, the Lady Tigers allowed an early goal but bounced back for a 2-1 halftime lead on goals by Kameron Powell six minutes afterward and Paula Burillo-Blasco in the 17th minute. Haylee O’Leary and Macy Ramsey found the net early after halftime and Rachel Pugh made four saves in goal for Grambling.

SOFTBALL: Near home but off campus, Grambling didn’t bring its best Friday at the Ruston Sports Complex, getting blasted 10-2 by Mississippi Valley State. But with water system repairs completed on campus, the Lady Tigers (6-8, 3-2) returned home Saturday and swept the visitors 11-1 and 5-1 to capture the SWAC series.

Freshman pitcher Payton Shells threw both ends of the Saturday sweep, striking out nine and scattering a total of 13 hits, seven in the second game. Valley (3-12) managed only four extra-base hits in the twinbill.

Grambling rang up 11 hits and took command with a five-run third inning in Saturday’s opener.

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