ATLANTA, Ga.- The Grambling State Tigers claimed the 2024 SWAC Baseball Tournament title on Sunday with a 6-5 come-from-behind win over Jackson State.

Making comebacks became the Tigers’ signature in the tournament. Grambling battled back against Alabama State on Friday to advance to their first matchup with Florida A&M in the nightcap. Ashton Inman ignited a six-run seventh inning with a home run down the left-field line. The Tigers added two more runs in the eighth while closer Phillip Bryant quieted the Rattlers offense. 

The Rattlers took an 11-9 lead over the G-Men through seven innings in Saturday’s rematch. Grambling tied the game in the eighth while holding the regular season winners scoreless. SWAC Tournament MVP Cameron Bufford broke the tie with a huge three-run blast over the right-centerfield wall.

Jackson State put Grambling in the familiar position with 2 runs in the first. Myles White delivered a double down the line driving in Jordan McCladdie and Rodney Hibler Jr.

A single by Kyle Walker in the third inning drove in Chris Marcellus to give the G-Men their first run of the game.

An inning later, Grambling took their first lead of the game on a double by Trevor Hatton. Ashton Inman and Julian Murphy scored on the hit. Hatton, who advanced to third on a throwing error after his double, scored two batters later on a single by Chris Marcellus.

J-State tied the game in the seventh and retook the lead in the top of the ninth on a heads-up play by local star Joseph Eichelberger. Sebastian Cabeza dropped the third strike to Robert Tate, missed the tag of the lanky freshman shortstop, and fired the ball to first base. In the confusion, Eichelberger stole home to give J-State a slim 5-4 lead.

Walker fired up the G-Men with a chopper to third that Shemar Harris rifled into the stands. The redshirt sophomore infielder advanced to second on the error. J-State opted not to test the fates and handed Bufford a free pass to first base. Murphy pushed the baserunners ahead with a bunt fielded and thrown out by first baseman Lenny Montesano.

Closer Christian Womble loaded the bases with one out to set up a double-play scenario.

Playing small ball when necessary was characteristic of the tournament’s latter stages. Hatton pushed a bunt down the third base line forcing Womble to field it off the mound. The right-handed Womble fielded the bunt with his back to the runner forcing him to throw to the plate backhanded. His throw was wide to the first base side allowing Walker to score the tying run followed by Bufford with the winning run.

GSU’s Javier Martinez got the win for the Tigers. He pitched 2.2 innings and allowed only one earned run.

The title is the Tigers’ first since the 2010 season. It was head coach Davin Pierre’s first league title since taking over the reins at GSU three years ago. The win clinched a spot for the Tigers in the 2024 NCAA Baseball Tournament.

All-Tournament Team
Juan Cruz, Alabama State
Ty Jackson, Florida A&M
Ramses Cordova, Bethune-Cookman
Jose Gonzalez, Bethune-Cookman
Arjun Huerta, Jackson State
Lenny Montesano, Jackson State
Je-andrick Lourens, Jackson State
Christian Womble, Jackson State
Kyle Walker, Grambling State
Trevor Hatton, Grambling State
Mason Martinez, Grambling State
Cameron Bufford, Grambling State
Most Valuable Player
Cameron Bufford, Grambling State

Championship Game Photos

All Photos by Jake McDonald, JM Photography for CORE360 Sports

2024 SWAC Baseball Championship Jackson State vs Grambling State