Photo by Courtesy Jackson State University
The Jackson State University Tigers finished the SWAC baseball regular season as Eastern Division champions, setting up for what could be the "Battle of the Tigers" at the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament this weekend.
JSU placed a total of six players on the 2013 All-SWAC regular season team, three players on the first team and three on the second. Pitcher Andre Rodriguez, catcher Jose Cruz and designated hitter Malcolm Tate were named to the first team. On the second team were first baseman Ethan Bright, second baseman Stephen Curtis and outfielder Charles Tillery, who was also named SWAC Newcomer of the year.
The Tigers cruised through the SWAC Baseball Tournament going undefeated against Texas Southern twice (5-3 and 7-4), Alcorn State (11-1) and Prairie View A&M (6-2) in the championship game.
JSU placed three players on the 2013 SWAC Baseball All-Tournament team: outfielder/pitcher Aneko Knowles, Tillery and Bright. Jackson State pitcher Alexander Juday was named 2013 SWAC Baseball Tournament MVP.
This is Jackson State's 14th SWAC baseball championship and the fifth postseason bid for the Tigers baseball program; however, it's JSU's first SWAC baseball title and postseason appearance since 2000. For head coach Omar Johnson, it was his first SWAC title in seven seasons at the helm of the Tigers.
By virtue of winning the SWAC Baseball Tournament, JSU earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament. On Monday, May 27, the Tigers of Jackson State learned they were headed to Baton Rouge to face the Tigers of Louisiana State University.
The LSU Tigers defeated Vanderbilt 5-4 to win the SEC Tournament and is one of eight top national seeds in the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament. LSU is ranked fourth in the country in the NCAA RPI standings. The team is top ranked in the USA Today Baseball Top 25 Coaches Poll and second in the Baseball America Top 25.
Jackson State has a 0-4 all-time record against LSU and is looking for their first postseason win at 0-8 all-time. This is the third time JSU has gone to the Baton Rouge Regional in their four postseason berths. Sam Houston State and Louisiana-Lafayette are also playing there this week; the NCAA RPI ranks Jackson State 252nd, Sam Houston State 47th and Louisiana-Lafayette 22nd.
The Baton Rouge Regional, like all regionals, is a double-elimination format. LSU faces Jackson State at 2 p.m., Friday, May 31. You can watch the game on ESPN 3. Sam Houston State faces Louisiana-Lafayette at 7 p.m. Friday.
On Saturday, the losers of game one and game two meet at 2 p.m., and the winners of game one and game two take the field at 7 p.m.