Tigers tabbed second in SWAC baseball poll

Courtesy of GSU Athletic Communications

The Grambling State University baseball team placed five student athletes on the preseason Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) all-conference teams, the most in the league, announced on Friday.

Cameron Bufford, Trevor Hatton and reigning SWAC “Freshman of the Year” Terry Burrell III were selected to the first team, while Julian Murphy and Jacorey Boudreaux landed on the second team.

In 2022, Bufford showcased his powerful swing all season for GSU, slugging 12 home runs and batting .324 in 57 games played. Bufford’s 54 RBI ranked seventh in the conference. He also scored 63 runs, which placed him third in the SWAC. Bufford registered 68 total hits and held a slugging percentage of .567. The Chicago, Ill. native also notched nine doubles, three triples and stole 12 bases.

Hatton had a breakout freshman season for GSU, batting .323 with 56 RBI, 15 doubles, five triples and nine home runs. Hatton’s 72 total hits ranked fifth in the SWAC, and the 56 runs he drove in was good for sixth in the conference. Hatton also showcased his speed on the base paths, swiping 24 bases.

Burrell, who won the coveted SWAC “Freshman of the Year” award to punctuate his 2022 campaign, earned first-team recognition after being a key contributor to a Tigers’ batting order that had nine batters bat over .300. Burrell sporting a batting average of .335 with 41 RBI, seven doubles and three triples. Burrell also scored 45 runs and stole 11 bases. Burrell also had one of the highest fielding percentages on the team, with a .962 fielding percentage.

Boudreaux went 7-4 during GSU’s 2022 campaign. His seven victories tied for the fourth most wins last year. Boudreaux pitched 70.1 total innings, racking up 67 strikeouts, the second most on the team. The Houston, Texas native sported a WHIP of 1.79 and a 7.29 ERA in 17 appearances, holding opponents to .261 batting. Boudreaux delivered a season-high eight strikeouts versus Texas Southern on April 15.

Murphy helped lead a strong batting order for GSU, batting .339 in 52 games played, He drove in 40 runs with eight doubles, five triples and two home runs. The Jackson, Miss. native also ranked ninth in the conference in runs scored 54. He also stole two bases.

The Tigers were also projected to come in second place in the SWAC Western Division behind Southern. In third was was Prairie View A&M, followed by Texas Southern, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Alcorn State

Alabama State was picked to win the SWAC Eastern Division. In second place was Bethune-Cookman, followed by Florida A&M, Jackson State, Alabama A&M and Mississippi Valley State.

Grambling State opens to 2023 season next weekend in Houston, Texas in the Cactus Jack HBCU Classic hosted by the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park from Friday, February 17-19.

Predicted Order of Finish

SWAC Eastern Division
1. Alabama State- 103 (8)
2. Bethune-Cookman- 84 (3)
3. Florida A&M- 79 (3)
4. Jackson State- 76 (2)
5. Alabama A&M- 51 (3)
6. Mississippi Valley State- 27 (1)

SWAC Western Division
1. Southern- 109 (11)
2. Grambling State- 95 (2)
3. Prairie View A&M- 77 (2)
4. Texas Southern- 66 (1)
5. Arkansas-Pine Bluff- 50 (2)
6. Alcorn State- 44 (2)

*First place votes listed in parenthesis

Preseason Player of the Year
Corey King, Alabama State

Preseason Pitcher of the Year
Hunter Viets, Florida A&M

Preseason First Team
C – Irvin Escobar, Bethune-Cookman
1B – O’Neill Burgos, Southern
2B – Ty Hill, Jackson State
3B – Dreylin Holmes, Mississippi Valley State
SS – Cameron Bufford, Grambling State
DH – Corey King, Alabama State
OF – Jaylen Armstrong, Southern
OF – Trevor Hatton, Grambling State
OF – Terry Burrell, Grambling State

SP – Hunter Viets, Florida A&M
SP – Louis Lipthratt, Bethune-Cookman
RP – Enrique Ozoa, Southern

Preseason Second Team
C – Julian Murphy, Grambling State
1B – Jaelen Williams, Jackson State
2B – Joseph Pierini, Florida A&M
3B – CJ Castillo, Texas Southern
SS – Zachary Trevino, Prairie View A&M
DH – Benjamin Ybarra, Prairie View A&M
OF – Ty Hanchey, Florida A&M
OF – JJ Rollon, Southern
OF – Jatavis Melton, Jackson State
SP – Nolan Santos, Bethune-Cookman
SP – Jacorey Boudreaux, Grambling State
RP – Joan Gonzalez, Bethune-Cookman