HBCU Baseball Roundup: Jackson State Sits Atop Black College Baseball.com’s Top 10 Poll

By Tony McClean
Updated: February 15, 2006
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — The month of February has been very eventful on and off the field for the Jackson State University baseball team. After opening 2005 at 0-3, Mark Salter’s Tiger squad has opened the season at 4-0.
The undefeated start, which includes wins against conference foes Prairie View and Grambling State, has helped lead JSU to the number one ranking in this week’s BlackCollegeBaseball.com’s Top 10 Poll which was released on February 14.
The remaining top five includes Prairie View (8-1) ranked second, Savannah State (5-2) is third, Southern (1-2) at number four and Arkansas Pine Bluff (3-4) ranked fifth. Teams six through ten include three MEAC teams: North Carolina A&T (0-0) at sixth, Bethune Cookman (2-4) seventh, and Florida A&M (1-6) seventh.
Alcorn State (0-2) is ninth with Norfolk State (1-3) rounding out the poll at number ten. JSU’s bats came out booming as their erupted for 54 runs in their first three games.
In the season opening doubleheader at University Park field, the Tigers jumped all over Concordia, claiming a 17-4 victory in the first game and a 22-2 blowout in the second game. The first game was stopped near the midway point of the sixth inning. The second was stopped in the fifth inning.
The Tigers got a major boost from junior Joaquin Rodriguez, who pretty much ended any chance of a Concordia comeback in Game 1. The junior from Miami, Fla., sent a towering homerun over the right field fence in the bottom of the third inning to give the Tigers a 4-1 advantage.
It was all JSU after Rodriguez, a preseason All-SWAC selection, launched the season’s first shot. In Game 2, the Tigers sprinted to a 15-0 lead by the second inning, prompting another stoppage, this time in the fifth inning.

JSU’s run barrage continued in their next game, a 15-13 slugfest against Grambling State. A slow start on the mound ended in a 6-1 GSU lead after the first inning, but it wasn’t long before JSU got things going. The Tigers were again led at the plate by Rodriguez, who had 2 runs on 4 hits.

Steven Collins pitched five innings for JSU and allowed no runs, shutting GSU out in the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th innings. During that time, JSU piled on 10 runs, seemingly putting the game out of reach for Grambling.

In the ninth, Grambling tacked on 4 runs before JSU put together the game-winning out when GSU’s Marvin Mercer grounded out to the pitcher.


Off the field, the university named longtime former baseball coach Robert Braddy to be its next athletic director. Braddy is the winningest baseball coach in SWAC history with a 823-555-3 career record. Between 1973 and 2001, his teams won 12 SWAC championships, more than any other coach in league history.

He guided the Tigers to three NCAA tournament appearances, two NCAA play-in games and four NAIA tournaments. Braddy was named SWAC Coach-of-the-Year nine times.

Braddy’s first conference title came during his first season as JSU’s head coach. His team won back-to-back titles in 1977 and 1978, and again in 1989 and 1990. He also won three consecutive SWAC titles from 1993-95. His other league championships came in 1980, 1982, 1986 and 2000.

Since Braddy’s first season at JSU, 52 of his players have reached the professional ranks, including Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, Marvin Freeman, Wes Chamberlain, David Clark and Curtis Ford. He produced two first round draft choices in Clark, an outfielder, (1983) and pitcher/outfielder Earl Sanders (1986).

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