Prairie View Repeats As SWAC Champ, Sews Up NCAA Bid

By Yolande Lezine
Updated: May 22, 2007

HOUSTON — The Prairie View A & M Panthers kept the athletic programs championship season alive, after the baseball team rallied past Southern University to capture the SWAC title in Jackson, Mississippi.

Wilford White’s two-run double in the seventh inning put the Panthers ahead to stay as they sealed an 8-7 victory over the Southern University Jaguars (26-18) at Smith-Wills Stadium , the site of the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament.

Prairie View, who will now represent the SWAC in the NCAA tournament, has captured back-to-back tournament titles. The Panthers (34-23) are also currently ranked No. 2 in BlackCollegeBaseball.com’s Top 10 poll.

“This is a coach’s dream for me,” Prairie View coach Michael Robertson said. “This one’s really special the way the kids came together. I’ve never seen a bunch of kids so energetic.”

The Panthers overcame a 7-4 deficit with two runs in the sixth inning and two in the seventh inning. Calvin Lester, the tournament’s most outstanding player, had two of those hits and drove in two runs.

Greg Ford, White, and Brandon Kendricks had the other three. Odie Davis and Taylor joined Lester on the all-tournament team.

Lester, a force on the bases with his speed, hit .440 for the tournament. “Calvin really struggled all year long,” Coach Robertson said. “He kept working hard. It’s a tribute to him that he put together a great tournament.”

Joshua Terrell got the win with two innings of scoreless relief and Josh Lara earned the save. Prairie View starter Wrandal Taylor gave up four hits and seven runs, while striking out six in six innings.

The Panthers will now get ready to head to the NCAA with their last appearance clear on their minds. They played in the regional at Reckling Park last season, //<![CDATA[ u003cbr /> "We’ll go back to practice and try to keep ouru003cbr />pitching as sharp as possible, and basically hope tou003cbr />keep the continuity and chemistry going," Robertsonu003cbr />stated.u003cbr />u003cbr /> "The key for us is to utilize our speed, get ouru003cbr />kids on base and put pressure on the defense. We planu003cbr />to do more of that in the regionals."u003cbr />u003cbr /> Prairie View defeated Southern 6-3, Jackson Stateu003cbr />14-3 in route to the title game in a rematch vs.u003cbr />Southern.u003cbr />u003cbr />u003cbr />u003cbr />u003cbr />u003c/div>”,0] ); D(["ce"]); //–> //]]> losing to Rice 6-5 and Arizona State 13-4.

“We’ll go back to practice and try to keep our pitching as sharp as possible, and basically hope to keep the continuity and chemistry going,” Robertson stated.

“The key for us is to utilize our speed, get our kids on base and put pressure on the defense. We plan to do more of that in the regionals.”

Prairie View defeated Southern 6-3, and Jackson State (33-23) 14-3 in route to the title game rematch vs. Southern.

NOTE: Pairings for the 2007 Division I Baseball Championship will be announced on Monday, May 28 at 12:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. Regionals are slated for June 1-4 at 16 different sites.