Baseball shutout in MLB Invitational opener
HOUSTON - One swing of the bat made all the difference for Texas Southern in the opening game of the sixth Annual MLB Urban Youth Invitational at Minute Maid Park.
Tyler Flanagan's solo homerun was the only score in the Tigers' 1-0 win over Southern as TSU's Felix Gomez and Southern's Jesse Holiday engaged in a pitchers' duel in front of a crowd of 200 Friday afternoon.
Holiday and Gomez combined for 15 innings of work, striking out 12 total batters and scattering eight hits. The biggest of those eight hits in the game came in the bottom of the third inning.
Flanagan, batting ninth for TSU (5-2), took Holiday deep to right to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Holiday, a senior from Sugar Land, Texas, only gave up one hit and struck out four Texas Southern batters before giving up the homer.
Holiday (1-1) pitched seven complete innings with four hits, one earned run and nine strikeouts in the loss.
"Holiday always seems to give us a tough time," Tigers head coach Michael Robertson said. "One thing you know about Southern starters, they go deep in the ball game and they throw strikes.
The Jaguars (2-3) hit only as a team .153, managing four hits for the game.
"We had a ton of opportunities, but we couldn't get the big hit," said Southern head coach Roger Cador. "It's something that we have to work on and build the confidence of our young players to hit with two strikes and two outs."
The Jaguars suffered three innings of going three-up, three-down.
"We just played bad," said Southern head baseball coach Roger Cador. "When I say played bad I mean played bad from a stand point of at bats."
In the top of the sixth and the seventh Southern had runners on base but was caught stealing second by Tigers catcher Andrew Garza, who seemed to have the Jaguars batters number.
"It was a big momentum builder for us. Andrew did a good job for us throwing the ball, and Gomez did a good job with his time to the plate giving us a chance to throw him out," Robertson said.
Gomez (1-0) picked up the win for TSU, pitching eight shutout innings, allowing four hits and walking three batters. Denzel Pipkin picked up the save for the Tigers, his first of the season.
"We normally ask our starters to go seven innings and hopefully three runs or less and I just thought he was phenomenal," Robertson said.
Southern (2-3) will not have much time to dwell on this game as they will face Alabama State Saturday at 4 p.m. in the second day of the three-day round robin event. The game will be featured live on the MLB Network, which airs on Cox channel 254 and 1254 for HD.
Meanwhile, TSU and archrival Prairie View A&M plays at 8 p.m.
"We've just got to find a way to do better and see what happens from there," said Cador.
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