JSU advances to SWAC title game with win over Grambling

Published: May. 21, 2021 at 11:55 PM CDT
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MADISON, Ala. - Jackson State defeated Grambling State 9-5 Friday and advanced to the 2021 SWAC Tournament Championship Game on Sunday for the first time since 2014.

After spotting GSU a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, JSU responded in its half of the inning.

Sophomore Jatavious Melton started the frame with a walk and senior Chandler Dillard and sophomore Ty Hill delivered back-to-back bunt singles to load the bases.

Freshman Chenar Brown singled to right field to score Melton and put JSU on the board and Dillard scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at 2-2. Brown also scored on a wild pitch and senior Equon Smith capped the inning with a three-run home run to left field and JSU opened up a 5-2 lead.

The Blue and White kept the pressure on in the bottom of the second inning.

Freshman Chevy Dorris singled to center field and Melton was hit by the pitch on a full count to put runners on first and second base.

Dillard laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners. Hill was hit by the pitch to load the bases and senior CJ Newsome drilled a line drive to deep center field for a bases-clearing triple.

JSU added a run in the bottom of the fifth with a Marshal Luiz sacrifice fly to left field to score Wesley Reyes.

Devontae Rhodes started for the first time this season and pitched well in the pressure situation. Rhodes threw 4 1/3 innings, scattered seven hits, allowed three runs and one walk and fanned five.

Mario Lopez entered in relief and earned the win for the second night in a row. The lefty tossed 3 1/3 innings, allowed five hits and two runs and fanned two batters.

Lopez gave way to SWAC Relief Pitcher of the Year Steven Davila in the seventh inning. The junior threw 1 1/3 innings and fanned two batters to earn the save.

Newsome batted 2-for-4 with three RBI and Hill finished 3-for-4.

JSU awaits Southern/Prairie View A&M in the SWAC Championship.

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