GRAMBLING, La. | Raul Baduel pitched a complete game, while Rafael Ramirez III and Nick Wheeler each hit home runs as the Grambling State University baseball team rolled to a 9-2 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) series opener on Saturday at Wilbert Ellis Field at R.W.E. Jones Park.
Grambling State (17-17 overall, 10-6 SWAC) struck for three runs in the bottom of the first as Ace Felder reached on an error and advanced to second on the play. After a stolen base by Felder, Richard Ortiz walked to put runners on the corners with one out. With the count at 0-1, Rafael Ramirez III crushed the second pitch he saw over the right-field fence to give the Tigers an early 3-0 lead.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff (11-15, 8-7) trimmed the margin to 3-1 with a run in the top of the second, but Grambling State answered in the bottom of the frame with one run to take a 4-1 advantage.
The Golden Lions got a solo homer to deep center by JP Soriano to close the gap to 4-2 in the fourth.
The Tigers plated three runs on two hits to extend the lead in the fifth.
Ramirez walked and advanced all the way to third on Isaiah Torres' double to right. Drexler Macaay followed with a double to the gap in left center to plate Ramirez and Torres. Mccaay came into score on a sacrifice fly to center by Trevin Bolden to push the advantage to 7-2.
Grambling State added an insurance run in the seventh when Ramirez singled and moved to third on a Torres base hit down the right-field line. Macaay followed with an RBI single to right as Ramirez scored to give the Tigers an 8-2 advantage.
A solo blast to left by Wheeler extended the advantage to 9-2 in the eighth as Arkansas-Pine Bluff could not recover.
INSIDE THE NUMBERSGrambling State registered nine runs on 10 hits and left six on base. Rafael Ramirez (three RBIs and three runs scored), Drexler Macaay (three RBIs and one run scored) and Nick Wheeler (two runs scored and one RBI) led the way offensively with two hits. Marshawn Taylor and Isaiah Torres also finished with two hits. Raul Baduel threw 118 pitches in nine innings to pick up his third victory of the season. He gave up two runs on nine hits, with two walks and two strikeouts. Arkansas-Pine Bluff finished with two runs on nine hits, with one error and left seven baserunners stranded. JP Soriano led the way offensively for the Golden Lions by going 3-for-3, with two runs scored and one RBI. Peyton Burks (1-4) started on the hill for the Golden Lions, lasting 4.1 innings. He surrendered seven runs on six hits, with four walks and one strikeout. Nathan Sawrie worked the final 3.2 innings in relief.
Grambling State concludes the SWAC series with a doubleheader (two seven-inning games) on Sunday against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. at Wilbert Ellis Field at R.W.E. Jones Park.