LAFAYETTE, La. — Apparently, Jackson State wasn’t just happy to play in the NCAA baseball tournament.
The Tigers overcame quite a bit to make it to the Lafayette Regional, starting with enduring a bus fire earlier this month in a bus fire that occurred just outside Birmingham, Ala. But they slid into the SWAC tournament as the final seed in the Eastern Division and dominated Western Division champion Arkansas-Pine Bluff en route to an improbable championship victory over heavily favored Alabama State.
Now, the Tigers (32-23) can chalk up another stunning win.
Melvin Rodriguez’s single up the middle with two outs in the fourth inning scored Desmond Russell for the game’s only run in Jackson State’s 1-0 win against Louisiana — ranked No. 1 in the coaches’ poll — on Friday at Tigue Moore Field. Fourth-seeded Jackson State advanced to play in-state foe and second-seeded Mississippi State at 7 tonight, while Louisiana has to work out of the losers’ bracket beginning with a 2 p.m. date with third-seeded San Diego State today. Mississippi State, last year’s national runner-up, beat SDSU 5-2.
Vincent Anthonia picked up the win after scattering five hits and striking out two in six innings. Alexander Juday kept the Ragin’ Cajuns (53-8) off the scoreboard and yielded just three hits the rest of the way.
The loss spoiled an eight-inning gem by Austin Robichaux, who struck out six Tigers and allowed only four hits. Blake Trahan led the Cajuns going 3 for 4.
Rodriguez batted 2 for 3, including the game’s only extra-base hit.
The Jackson State/Mississippi State winner will advance to the championship round.