Southern wins SWAC baseball title, automatic NCAA berth

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The Southern Jaguars are headed back to the NCAA baseball tournament for the first time since 2009.

The Jaguars rode the bat of league co-player of the year Tyler LaPorte and the arm of Eli Finney to a 15-0 victory over Alabama State Sunday at the MLB Urban Youth Academy at Wesley Barrow Stadium.

LaPorte, who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, drove in five runs in a two-inning span as Southern (32-22) broke open the game. His two-run triple down the right-field line ignited a four-run fifth inning, and his three-run homer to left in the sixth gave Southern a 10-0 lead.

That was more than enough for Finney. Working on three days’ rest, Finney held Alabama State to three hits in 8 1/3 innings, walking two and striking out six to earn his second win of the tournament, outdueling league pitcher of the year Darren Kelly in the process.

Johnny Johnson and Javeyan Williams each had four of the Jaguars’ 16 hits off five Alabama State pitchers.

Southern will play one more regular-season game Friday against North Carolina A&T in the Inaugural HBCU World Series at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, home of the White Sox, before learning its NCAA destination on Memorial Day.

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