Bengals beat Jaguars, 9-6, in exhibition game
So many kids took finals (Thursday), so you give them a pass.” ROger Cador, Southern coach
The good news, for Southern’s baseball team, was that Thursday’s 9-6 loss to LSU-Eunice didn’t affect the Jaguars’ winning streak.
The game didn’t count. It was the opener of a three-game exhibition series, a warmup before Southern enters next week’s Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament at Lee-Hines Field. The Jaguars’ winning streak, for what it’s worth, will stand at 16 games when they face Mississippi Valley State at 3 p.m. Wednesday.
On the other hand, they didn’t appear to play their sharpest game of the season against LSU-E.
Thursday night, Southern committed four errors and misjudged a few more balls in the outfield, and only two of the Bengals’ nine runs were earned.
The Jaguars also stranded 10 base runners and struck out six times.
“We just have to come back tomorrow (Friday) and do better than we did today,” SU coach Roger Cador said. “That’s basically what I’m looking for: better execution and better concentration tomorrow than we had today.”
The Jaguars did, however, mount a late-inning rally.
Southern scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth — and after giving up two more runs to LSUE in the ninth, the Jaguars pulled to within three, at 9-6, with two outs, two runners on base and senior DeMario Ellis at the plate.
Ellis ripped a line drive down the third-base line that might have scored two runs. At the very least, it would have kept the rally alive.
Instead, Ellis’ liner disappeared into the glove of third baseman Sam Carriere, who ended the game with his diving stab behind the bag.
“I was just trying to put it in play, just fight to give the team another pitch. The guy took it away from me,” Ellis said. “That was a great play.”
It was one of a half-dozen sparkling defensive plays by the Bengals, who have lost only four times in 52 games this season.
“All those dudes made the plays. They know how to play the game,” Ellis said. “The pitchers were throwing strikes and keeping our guys off-balance and everything. That’s how they came off with a ‘W.’ ”
From the beginning, Southern seemed to treat Thursday’s game like the tuneup it was supposed to be.
Right-hander Daniel Garcia threw only three innings before giving way to left-hander Jesse Holiday, a regular weekend starter who had taken a final exam earlier that day (Thursday marked the last day of finals week at SU).
They combined to give up five runs in five innings. Left-hander Zephan Rochelle and right-handed closer Josh Powell followed, allowing two runs apiece.
Both teams also substituted liberally.
“So many kids took finals today, so you give them a pass,” Cador said. “As I explained to them, it’s tough taking finals and then coming to play baseball.
“We didn’t have the great concentration, and we didn’t have the practice time.”
Vince Coleman and B.J. Rowry each had two hits and two runs for the Jaguars.
LSU-E pitcher Brady Wilson, a former Parkview Baptist standout, gave up one run on six hits in seven innings. He struck out three and walked none.
Zac Hawkins was 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI, one of three Bengals with two hits.
The teams play again at 6 p.m. Friday and then finish with a game at 1 p.m. Saturday.