Loss keeps Southern out of tourney

Southern finished its home baseball season with a loss that guaranteed it won’t qualify for the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament.

The Jaguars lost to Grambling 16-7 on Sunday afternoon at Lee-Hines Field to fall to 8-24 and 4-15 in the SWAC, guaranteeing a last-place finish in the West Division. The Tigers, second to last in the West, improved to 13-27 and 11-13.

Southern, which visits McNeese State in a non-conference game Wednesday, can’t win more than nine SWAC games. Third-place Prairie View A&M fell to 10-10 when it lost to Texas Southern 6-1 on Sunday.

“We don’t deserve to go because we didn’t do it on the field,” Jaguars coach Roger Cador said. “I can live with that, but I know we’ll be better (next year).”

Grambling won the series, which included a doubleheader split Saturday.

“The goal was to win all three and at least have a chance,” Southern first baseman B.J. Rowry said. “Now we’re playing for pride.”

The Jaguars took 5-4 lead after scoring five runs in the third inning and trailed just 7-5 after seven. But the Tigers scored nine runs in the last two innings.

It was the last home game for five seniors, including Rowry, who went 2 for 2 with two runs batted in. He had gone 6 for 7 with four RBI in Saturday’s doubleheader, which concluded with a 6-5, 10-inning Southern victory.

“I’m going to miss this,” Rowry said. “I guess coming in as a freshman you never think about seeing your last day. It’s a sad day. I hate to go out this way. I could have taken the game two win as my last game.”

Korey Hall’s two-run single in the fifth inning gave Grambling the lead for good, 6-5. The Tigers added single runs in the sixth and eighth, then eight in the ninth.

Grambling jumped on Jaguars starter J’Markus George (0-4) right away. Kris Minter led off the game with a single, Edwin Drexler sacrificed and Juan Bueno hit a two-run homer.

Yariel Medina followed with a walk, went to second on a groundout, reached third on shortstop Sergio Torres’ error on Brandon Kiser’s grounder and scored on the back end of a double steal. Roger Diaz singled home Kiser for a 4-0 lead.

Sam May led off the Southern third with a single and after Torres forced him at second, Phillip Williams and Tyler Kirksey walked to load the bases.

Jose De La Torre singled home one run and D.J. Wallace singled home two. Rowry’s single brought home the final two runs.

Bueno led off the fifth with a double and he went to third and Medina reached when Torres threw wildly to third trying to get Bueno on Medina’s grounder to short. Hall singled home both runners.

Thigpen was relieved by Jacob Polk after hitting Travaurs Bell with a pitch and yielding Minter’s double to start the sixth. Polk got one out before committing a balk that pushed the lead to 7-5.

Grambling scored a run without getting a hit in the eighth. The Tigers added eight runs against Cade LeBlanc in the ninth on five hits, three walks, two wild pitches and an error.

De La Torre hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to complete the scoring.