Photo courtesy JSU Athletics
After dropping the opening game of the 2020 baseball season to Southern Illinois University, Jackson State University gave the ball to its best pitcher. Preseason SWAC Pitcher of the Year Nikelle Galatas took the mound for the Tigers in the second game of the season.
The junior pitcher didn't disappoint as he went eight innings and scattered eight hits. Galatas gave up three runs with just one being an earned run as he struck out four batters with just one walk. It was a nice 127 pitch outing that gave the Tigers a chance to win the game.
Even though Galatas didn't factor in the decision, the Tigers won the game 5-4 in 10 innings. It was the lone game from the four game series that JSU took the victory. JSU ended up losing the third game 8-18 and the fourth game 2-7 to start the season 1-3.
The Los Angeles, Calif. Native, continued his strong showing from the 2019 season. He posted solid numbers in conference play as he finished first in innings pitched with 93.2, second in batters stuck out with 74, fourth in wins with six, fifth in opposing batting average with .237 and seventh in earned run average with 4.13 ERA.
Galatas finished the season overall with a 4.17 ERA, 81 strikeouts, 97 hits, 59 runs, 49 earned runs and 36 walks. He started 15 games as he appeared in 22 games with two saves with a 7-5 record as a starting pitcher as he pitched 105.2 innings pitched.
He improved over his 2018 season as he posted an 4.58 ERA, with 53 strikeouts, 97 hits, 50 runs, 49 earned runs and 38 walks. He started 14 games and appeared in 18 games as he finished with a 8-3 record and pitched 88.1 innings.
Even as he was named Preseason SWAC Pitcher of the Year, Galatas was also named Preseason All-SWAC Second-Team. JSU earned four Preseason All-SWAC First-Team members in third baseman Jayln Williams, short stop Wesley Reyes, outfielder Equon Smith and designated hitter Chris Prentiss.
The Tigers also saw relief pitcher Mario Lopez earn Preseason All-SWAC Second-Team. In all, the Tigers had six players earn Preseason All-SWAC First-Team or Second-Team.
Jackson State was picked to finish second in the SWAC East with 70 points with Alabama State University picked to finish first with 77 points. Alabama A&M University was picked third, Alcorn State University was picked fifth and Mississippi Valley State was picked sixth.
In the SWAC West, Southern University was picked first, Grambling State was picked second, Texas Southern University was picked third, Prairie View A&M University was picked fourth and University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff was picked sixth.
The Tigers travel to Troy, Ala. to face the Troy University Wednesday, Feb. 19, with the starting pitch at 6 p.m. JSU returns home to face Alcorn State on Friday, Feb. 21, with first pitch at 7 p.m.