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PV, Jackson State Take Advantage of Pitching Changes in SWAC Tournament

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Stifled by superior pitching performance, Prairie View A&M and Jackson State needed changes of pace on day three of the SWAC baseball tournament at LaGrave Field in Fort Worth.

Both schools got their wish with pitching changes by Alabama State and Texas Southern. As a result, the Panthers defeated the Hornets, 2-1, and Jackson State rolled past TSU 7-4.

For Prairie View A&M (26-26), the defending SWAC champs managed just two hits off Alabama State starter Joseph Camacho, who struck out 10 batters in seven innings.

When Jorge Pantoja (3-3) took over in the eighth, the Panthers' Colby Hines doubled and scored on Trey Price's single. Price then scored when Pantoja threw away Brett Valley's grounder.

For its part, Prairie View stayed with starter A.J. Helms (3-2) who set down the Hornets (32-24) in order in the ninth for the victory. Helms struck out 11 batters.

Alabama State got the early lead when Leo Rojas doubled in the first inning. He later stole home.

Prairie View's journey to return to the SWAC title game still isn't over. They had to stop Southern, 11-4, earlier in the day Friday to face ASU. With their victory, they must defeat Alabama State again Saturday at 3 p.m.

Jackson State 7, Texas Southern 4

For the Jackson State Tigers (33-20), their nemesis was Michael Starkey.

Starkey held JSU to a single run on three hits in five innings of work. The only blemish was the fourth inning when Starkey hit Bryce Taylor, allowed him to steal second and gave up an RBI on Charles Tillery's sacrifice fly.

Jacob Martinez took over in the sixth inning and, though he had a 3-0 mark on the season, Jackson State immediately went to work on him.

Tillery slammed a ground-rule double that scored Gabriel Babineayx. Jose Cruz knocked in Ethan Bright with a sacrifice fly and Tillery later scored on a wild pitch to give JSU a 4-3 lead.

In the eighth inning, with Martinez still in the game, things took a turn for the surreal with Jackson State scoring three runs without the benefit of a hit or getting the ball out of the infield.

Pantoja walked the bases loaded. He then coughed up a free base to Fred Hampton to force in a run.

Jamell Blue finally relieved Martinez, but Blue's control didn't enter the game with him. He threw a wild pitch that scored Bright and walked Nick Marigny to send another runner across home plate.

It was up to reliever Larry Romero to come in and shut the inning down.

Up until Markey's departure, TSU (22-29) was in control.

In the bottom of the third inning, Jerry Ford II singled and Chris DeLeon was hit by Jackson State starter Aneko Knowles (5-2). Ellis Stephney reached on second baseman Stephen Curtis' error that also allow Ford to score.

De'Mario Thibodeaux then tripled in DeLeon and Stephney to put Texas Southern up 3-0.

After falling behind 7-3 by the eighth inning, TSU scored just one more run, in the bottom of that inning when Corbin Smith singled in Sebastian Stargell.

Jackson State's Desmond Russell then shut down TSU for his second save.

Jackson State moves on to Sunday's championship game at 2 p.m. against either Prairie View A&M or Alabama State.

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