Three Grambling State pitchers combined for a three-hit shutout and the Tigers defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff 3-0 to split Saturday’s doubleheader at Torii Hunter Baseball Complex.
“We just couldn’t push anything across,” UAPB head coach Carlos James said. “We couldn’t execute very well when we did have a chance to score runs.”
UAPB had an opportunity to tie the game in the seventh inning when pinch runner Mike Ludwig made it to third with one out. But a strikeout by Dwayne Hysmith, and a groundout by Dylan Calhoun ended the inning.
“We got to score right there,” James said. “In a one run ball game right there, we got to score.
“With a runner on third, you got to score that run in a tight ball game.”
Grambling’s Matt Mitchell pitched seven innings and allowed just tow hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Cory Jordan pitched an inning of hitless relief and Zach Moreau earned the save, allowing one hit with one strikeout in an inning of work.
“Mitchell always pitches well,” James said. “He is one of the better pitchers in the league.”
In the first game, UAPB defeated Grambling 6-4. UAPB scored a run in the first, three in the fourth, one in the sixth and one in the seventh. Grambling scored two in the fourth and two in the ninth.
Jim Ploeger was credited with the win after pitching 8 2/3 innings and allowing four runs (all earned) on five hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. Redmond Floyd closed out the game, striking out the only batter he faced.
Grambling’s Brock Baker was tagged with loss after allowing six runs (five earned) on four hits in six innings of work. He also allowed two walks with two strikeouts.
UAPB (11-21, 6-7 SWAC) is still above Grambling (14-19, 8-8) in the standings after the split. The West is up for grabs as every team in the division has at least six losses.
“Everybody is right there together,” James said. “Everybody was within a half game of each other.
“It is going to be pretty tight down the stretch.”
The weekend series will be decided when UAPB host Grambling today at 1 p.m. Then the Golden Lions will travel back to Grambling on Monday to finish a game that was rained out back in March.
“Our thing is to try to get in the tournament,” James said. “In our third year trying to build a program up, we want to get into the tournament.
“If we so happen to win the west doing that, they hey we’ll take it. If we can get in, we can play with anybody.”
In the second game, Grambling earned a three-run cushion in the top of the ninth thanks to a two-run single by Kris Minter to plate Darren Farmer and Brandon Kiser.
“They put those two runs on the board and that hurt,” James said. “It is easier to come back and get one run, than try to get three.”
UAPB’s Jaron Gold is credited with the loss in the second game after pitching 7 1/3 innings. He allowed one run (unearned) on four hits with three strikeouts.
“It was really good to see him go out and do the job he did,” James said. “He pitched well enough to win and that’s all you can ask out of your starter.
“I’m proud of him. I hope that can help us out going down the stretch.”
James said Gold had been struggling after pitching four innings of relief against Texas Christian on March 6. But against Memphis earlier this week, Gold had a couple of solid innings.
“The other night at Memphis, he gained some confidence,” James said.
Floyd pitched the final 1 2/3 and allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
In the second game, Kirby Campbell finished 1 for 2 with a walk and a stolen base. Patrick Phillips had a hit and Jacob Whitney was 1 for 1 with a single in the ninth inning.
In the first game, Warren Stehn was 2 for 4 with a run and a RBI. Isias Alcantar was 1 for 3 with a run and a RBI.