22 Apr

comes a time

Jackson State has a chance to ease the pain of a rough season this weekend when Alabama State comes to Braddy Field for a three-game SWAC series. A year after dominating the league (24-0 in the regular season), the Tigers are just 6-9 and fourth in the SWAC East. Alabama State leads the division at 11-2 and swept the Tigers at its home field earlier this month. The 17-2 loss at Mississippi State on Tuesday notwithstanding, JSU has showed signs of a resurgence, winning five of its last six conference contests. JSU (18-19 overall) has gotten consistent offense from Ty Hill (.385, 37 runs), Jatavis Melton (.319, 41 runs, 20 steals) and Devontae Rhodes (.313, 22 RBIs) but not much from the rest of the lineup. The pitching staff, so strong last year, has been knocked around frequently. Only one regular starter, Juan Maruland (5-4, 3.73 ERA), has an ERA under 4.00. Last year’s closer, Steven Davila, has missed most of the season. So, too, has slugger Chenar Brown, the league’s freshman of the year in 2021. Others need to step up. On the positive side, the Tigers are 12-4 at home. And a good showing against Alabama State would go a long way toward building confidence heading into the SWAC Tournament, where the Tigers have a demon to exorcise. P.S. Rust College has finished its regular season with a six-game win streak and a 16-13-1 record under first-year coach John Bates.

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