UAPB sweeps series, win 7th straight in SWAC


GRAMBLING, La. — The Arkansas-Pine Bluff baseball team rallied from a three-run deficit in Game 2 of a Sunday doubleheader against Grambling State to win 7-5 and sweep the three-game series.

UAPB defeated Grambling 6-5 in the first game at Wilbert Ellis Field.

In Game 2, Grambling (3-15, 2-7 SWAC) took a 3-0 lead in the third inning, but a five-run inning in the top of the fifth by UAPB (7-11, 7-1) gave the Golden Lions a two-run lead.

“We finally got to their pitcher,” UAPB head coach Carlos James said. “Our guys were patient and they didn’t panic.

“… We kept working the count and we put together a couple of singles.”

Back-up catcher Tyler Oertle had a two-out double that scored a pair of runs. He finished 2 for 4 with two RBIs.

“He has kept a positive attitude this whole time and he got the start in the third game,” James said.

The Lions added a pair of runs in the sixth. Grambling scored single runs in the fifth and the seventh inning.

UAPB has now won seven straight conference games and is in sole possession of first place in the Western Division.

“That is a great feeling and not be the one chasing somebody,” James said. “We kind of control our own destiny.”

Mikey Ramirez picked up the win in Game 2. He pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed five runs (three earned) on eight hits with one strikeout and a walk.

Senior Zach Moreau was tagged with the loss for Grambling. He pitched seven innings, allowing seven runs (all earned) on 15 hits with one walk and two strikeouts.

James believes the nonconference schedule including games against Arkansas-Little Rock, Cal and Tulane helped prepare the Lions for their conference games.

“I think those games helped us go in against these traditional SWAC powers and sweep,” James said. “… To come from behind is just a testament to the games we’ve played leading up to it.”

Isias Alcantar led the Lions at the plate in game two. He finished 3 for 5 with two RBIs and Mike Wieland was 3 for 5 with two runs scored. Andre Davis was 1 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs.

Dion Holbrook led the Tigers with two hits in four trips with three runs scored.

The three-game series was originally scheduled to be played in Pine Bluff but was moved to Louisiana due to the forecast rain.

In the first game, UAPB scored two runs in the first and third inning and had a 5-0 lead by the end of three innings. UAPB had 12 hits and left 12 runners on base.

Grambling scored one run in the last six innings except for the seventh. The Tigers had 10 hits with two errors and left nine runners on base.

Jim Ploeger is credited with the win after pitching 5 1/3 innings. He allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits with six strikeouts and two walks.

Alcantar finished the first game with two hits including a home run and an RBI and a run scored. Joshua Cassidy was 3 for 5 with a run and an RBI. Jerimiah Figueroa was 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI.

“Because we played those bigger schools, we have enough to muster up and go out there and complete the sweep,” James said.