Southern splits doubleheader with Texas Southern

HOUSTON — Southern and Texas Southern divided a Southwestern Athletic Conference Western Division baseball doubleheader — with the Jaguars winning the first game 1-0 but losing the second game 5-2 — Saturday.

Jesse Holiday and Josh Powell combined to shut out TSU in the first game — with Holiday (4-2) making big pitches or plays to get out of jams time and again. But Texas Southern got a three-run double from Jerry Ford II in the fifth inning to power the Tigers to victory in the second game, as Robert Pearson (4-2) struck out eight in seven strong innings.

“We were quite fortunate to win the first game, to be honest,” Southern coach Roger Cador said. “The old gunslinger, ‘Doc’ Holiday, pitched well, got us into the eighth inning.”

Southern (13-15, 9-8 SWAC) and TSU (15-16, 7-7) conclude their three game series at 1 p.m. Sunday.

“They were just two well played games,” Cador said. “Texas Southern really plays well. Their pitching and defense is really, really good. I like their defense.”

Southern 1, TSU 0: Marcus Tomlin’s sacrifice fly that scored Tyler Kirksey in the eighth inning proved to the difference.

Powell pitched the final 1.2 innings to earn his second save of the year.

TSU outhit Southern 7-5, with Ellis Stephney going 3-for-4.

Cador said Holiday scattered TSU’s five hits. Plus, he allowed just one walk and struck out four.

“He just didn’t let them get anything going,” Cador said. “Every time they got something going, he just didn’t allow anything. He made quality pitches at the time we needed them. One time, on a squeeze play, he got the ball to the catcher. He really did all he had to do. And there was no room for mistakes (Saturday).”

Sean Washington went 2-for-4, with a double, to lead Southern.

TSU 5, SOUTHERN 2: Ford’s three-run double in the fifth provided the big blow.

“That was it. That was it in a nutshell,” Cador said.

Southern starter Jose DeLeon (2-3) struck out one, walked one, hit two batters and allowed five hits in 4.1 innings.

“Jose DeLeon just didn’t have his best stuff,” Cador said. “I felt like we were in trouble from the start. He couldn’t put people away, and he left balls over the plate and that’s not a good sign.”

Pacing Southern, Alejandro Santiago had a solo homer, and Brian Rowry drove in D.J. Wesley, who went 2-for-4. Aside from Santiago (1-for-3), Rowry (1-for-4) and Wesley, the rest of the Southern lineup went 0-for-16 (but did draw six walks).

“We had some golden opportunities, but we weren’t able to do it,” Cador said. “We came back and made it 3-2 (in the seventh), but that was the closest we got.”

Cador to appear on ESPN

Cador said he will appear live twice on ESPN on Monday — at 11:30 a.m. and 12:10 p.m.

Cador, who has been appointed to Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig’s task force to come up with ideas on how to re-energize the sport with diversity and attract more black players, said he likely will talk about those issues as the network provides coverage on Jackie Robinson Day.