Pair of 5-run innings for Bulldogs dooms Jackson State in SWAC opener

Pair of 5-run innings for Bulldogs dooms Jackson State in SWAC opener
Pair of 5-run innings for Bulldogs dooms Jackson State in SWAC opener(Garrett Busby/(Busby Photography) | Garrett Busby)
Published: Mar. 18, 2023 at 6:55 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - After winning eight of their first nine games against Southwestern Athletic Conference opponents that counted as non-conference matchups, Jackson State baseball dropped their opening game of SWAC play to the visiting Alabama A&M Bulldogs Friday night.

Tigers’ ace Jesse Caver had an uncharacteristic night on the mound, allowing three earned runs in the top of the third in shaky inning by his standards.

The JSU bats dug Caver and the Tigers out of the early hole in the bottom of the third inning as third baseman Myles White singled to center field with one out and scored on Daniel Bannon’s RBI double down the right-field line. With two outs following an intentional walk to Ty Hill, first baseman Brett Mersman singled to left center, scoring Bannon and Hill to tie the score at 3-3.

Jackson State was able to take the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning 4-3 thanks to another single from White. Alabama A&M, though, answered the following inning with the first of two 5-run innings in the top of the fifth to regain the lead 8-4.

JSU rallied at the plate to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings.

However, the Bulldogs continued to stay hot in the batter’s box and cranked home five more runs in the top of the seventh to eventually upsetting the Tigers in the opening contest of the three-game weekend series by the score of 13-9.

After starting the season at third base for Jackson State, 2023 preseason ALL-SWAC second-team nominee Jaelen Williams failed to start on the diamond in three consecutive games - four on the season - and didn’t appear in the mid-week loss to Louisiana Tuesday. He would, though, enter the game in the bottom of the seventh inning, going 0-2 and striking out once in his brief cameo.

Freshman outfielder and last week’s SWAC Hitter of the Week Jordon Smiley didn’t appear in the opening league game as well after starting the midweek competition earlier in the week.

The Tigers fall to 12-4 (0-1 in SWAC play) while Alabama A&M improved to a .500 overall record at 8-8 (1-0 in SWAC play).

Jackson State will have the chance to rebound after their second straight defeat Saturday at 3 p.m. at Braddy Field.

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