Grambling-Southern matchups in baseball, soccer are pivotal; Tigers home in baseball

Grambling State’s Cameron Phelts watches a triple he launched against Texas Southern go deep during the Tigers’ 4-3 home win over Texas Southern on March 20. (Photo by T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT/LPJ)

Staff writer

No better way to do a heat check on the Grambling baseball team than to battle Southern – especially when GSU has swept its last two Southwestern Athletic Conference series since getting swept at Southern by a total of four runs.

The Tigers (9-14, 6-3) have won nine of their last 12 games. They host the Jaguars (10-15, 8-4) in a Saturday doubleheader at 3 and 6, and a 1 p.m. single game Sunday at Wilbert Ellis Field at R.W.E. Jones Stadium.

On the first weekend last month in Baton Rouge, Southern posted victories of 9-8, 10-9 (in 10 innings) and 5-3 over Grambling.

Since then, James Cooper’s Tigers have averaged 10 runs in their last five games and swept Texas Southern and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Southern dropped two of three last weekend at TSU, and swept UAPB.

SOCCER: Another Grambling-Southern matchup has high stakes today in the semifinals of the SWAC Tournament at Prairie View, Texas.

Everybody expected Grambling to make the 5:30 p.m. semifinal contest, and the Lady Tigers dominated UAPB 2-0 to do so, posting their fifth straight win and second in six days over the Golden Lions.

But Southern pulled the surprise of Thursday’s quarterfinals by upsetting third-seeded Prairie View 1-0 on its homefield. Prairie View is the only SWAC team to top Grambling, scoring a 3-2 win in February. Grambling won 4-1 last month at Southern.

On Thursday, SWAC Offensive Player of the Year Kailey Pena scored her 14th goal of the season eight minutes after halftime to break a scoreless deadlock. A Mackenzie Raslatter goal off an assist by Kamaron Powell 20 minutes later provided insurance for Grambling (7-2-1).

GSU outshot UAPB 11-1 as Britt Verhees and the defense notched a shutout.

A win today advances Grambling to its third SWAC Tournament championship game in four seasons. It will be at 11 a.m. Sunday against either top-seeded Alabama State or Jackson State. Grambling tied Alabama State and routed JSU in regular-season play.

The semis and final will be streamed on the SWAC Digital Network through SWAC.org.


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