Grambling takes series from Southern, heads to LSU Tuesday; soccer falls in SWAC final

Grambling State’s Keylon Mack launches a home run during the Tigers’ 10-3 loss to Southern on Sunday. Photo by T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT/LPJ

Staff writer

Grambling’s blazing bats finally cooled off Sunday after a Saturday shellacking of Southern guaranteed a Southwestern Athletic Conference baseball series win.

A 12-9, 14-6 doubleheader sweep by the Tigers Saturday on Wilbert Ellis Field at R.W.E. Stadium was an extension of the offensive eruption by Grambling over the past three weeks.

But Sunday was a day of rest for Grambling’s hitters, shut out in the first six innings of the Jaguars’ 10-3 getaway game triumph. That snapped an eight-game SWAC win streak by the Tigers, who posted nine hits but only three runs.

James Cooper’s Tigers (11-15, 8-4) will visit the other team from Baton Rouge, LSU, Tuesday evening at 6:35. Grambling has won 11 of its last 15 contests.

“Extremely happy with the result of winning the series against Southern,” said Cooper. “I’m very disappointed in not getting the sweep and that … (was) because of the defensive miscues we had today.

“There is no time to dwell on this. We have four tough games around the corner to prepare for and we will be ready,” he said. Following the visit to LSU, Grambling goes to Alabama State for a SWAC series starting Friday.

In Saturday’s opening game, Grambling blasted back from a 7-2 deficit to tie it at 7, then answered a pair by Southern with a game-changing five-run seventh inning. Jeremy Almaguer cracked a two-run single and Chrystian Mervilus hammered a three-run homer.

Grambling got out in front in game two and took control as Keylon Mack lashed a two-run homer, his second of the day, and the Tigers went ahead 6-3. A four-run sixth broke it open with Mervilus delivering a two-run single as the G-Men rolled up a 12-6 lead.

Almaguer accounted for a team-best six RBI in the doubleheader sweep.

SOCCER: The SWAC Tournament championship match was as even as it gets. After battling to a 1-1 regular-season draw, Grambling and regular-season champion Alabama State battled to a 2-2 deadlock after two overtime periods Sunday.

There had to be a winner in this contest, so it went to penalty kicks, and the Lady Hornets prevailed 3-1 in that competition to capture the tournament title Sunday in Prairie View, Texas.

It was the third tournament final appearance in four seasons for the Grambling program, and the first under new coach Craig Roberts. The Lady Tigers finished the season with an overall 8-2-2 record.

After a pair of 2-0 shutout wins in the quarterfinals (Thursday over UAPB) and semifinals (Friday over Southern), Grambling finally allowed a goal late in the first half Sunday. The Lady Tigers tied it eight minutes after halftime when Macy Ramsey notched her fourth of the year. Alabama State took a 2-1 advantage in the 66th minute, but five minutes later, SWAC Offensive Player of the Year Kailey Pena found the net off a pass from Kamaron Powell to knot it 2-all.

Each squad had near-misses in overtime, but Alabama State made the most of its penalty kicks to walk away with the tournament crown.

In regulation and overtime, Grambling had a 13-7 advantage in shots and led 10-4 in shots on goal, but could not convert that into a winning edge.

Pena, Powell and Kaydeen Jack represented Grambling on the SWAC All-Tournament Team.

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