24 May

the unkindest cut

Three outs from the SWAC championship, with the league’s reliever of the year on the mound, Jackson State appeared to have a firm grip on its first league title in seven years, a just reward for a dominant season. It didn’t happen. O’Neill Burgos, a former hero at Brookhaven Academy and Jones College, played that role for Southern University on Sunday, belting a three-run homer to propel the upstart Jaguars to a 7-6 victory and the SWAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. JSU went 24-0 in the league in the regular season and won its first three tournament games at Madison, Ala. But the one that mattered most slipped away. There was some confusion initially about Burgos’ homer as Tigers left fielder Jatavious Melton crashed through the bullpen gate trying to run down the ball. Video review showed the ball cleared the fence. The Tigers went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth. Closer Steven Davila took the loss, his first of the year. JSU finishes with a 34-9 record; an NCAA at-large bid is most unlikely. Southern entered the tournament with a 15-27 record, lost its second game there and then won four straight elimination contests. The Jags, who have a number of Mississippi products on their roster, will head to the NCAAs after a sidetrip to the HBCU World Series in Jackson this week. P.S. After falling in the decisive game of the GSC Championship Series on Saturday, Delta State got new life on Sunday when it received a bid to the NCAA Division II South Region tourney at Pensacola, Fla. DSU will open with Tampa on Thursday in a region filled with GSC teams. … East Central Community College pushed second-ranked LSU-Eunice to a second game in the championship round of the NJCAA D-II Region 23 Tournament but ultimately fell to the Bengals 7-5 on Saturday. LSU-E goes to the juco World Series. … Ole Miss, once ranked No. 1 in the nation, faces a win-or-go-home game vs. Auburn in the SEC Tournament on Tuesday at Hoover, Ala. Mississippi State plays the winner of Florida-Kentucky on Wednesday to begin the double-elimination phase of its bracket. Southern Miss, the 3-seed and the defending champion in the C-USA Tournament, plays Western Kentucky on Wednesday at Ruston, La., in the double-elimination event.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: