Like a rerun of a bad movie, the script for Southern University’s baseball game Sunday afternoon was painfully all too familiar.
Nursing a late three-run lead, the Jaguars were unable to hold on as Grambling scored four runs in its final two at-bats to take a 10-9 win at Lee-Hines Field.
The win allowed Grambling (4-6, 2-1) to take the teams’ Southwestern Athletic Conference opening series after Southern (2-8, 1-2) had won Friday night’s opener. The Jaguars also squandered a late lead in their loss on Saturday.
“I had a lot of concerns about the pitching,” Southern coach Roger Cador said. “But more than the pitching was our at-bats when we had those guys on the ropes and we didn’t do anything with them.”
One of Southern’s biggest at-bats came in the sixth inning when it had a chance to score multiple runs on GSU reliever Creighton Hoover (1-0). Robinson Mateo and Marcos Hodge led off with singles to give the Jaguars runners at the corners.
Troy Lewis then launched a fly to right that was deep enough to score Mateo, but the throw home was cut off and Hodge was thrown out trying to take third on the play.
The next two Jaguars reached base before Frankly Montesino flied out to right ending the at-bat with Southern leading 9-6.
Jaguars’ starting pitcher Daniel Franklin left the game in the bottom of the seventh inning after allowing a leadoff single and a double. Franklin, who gave up five runs in the first three innings, threw 129 pitches.
He was charged with seven runs, four earned, on eight hits with four walks and seven strikeouts.
Justin Freeman (1-1) came on with runners at second and third, and limited the damage to one run. He wasn’t so fortunate in the eighth when he issued three walks. Coupled with three Grambling hits, the Tigers scored three times to take the lead at 10-9.
GSU’s Angel Peguero had an RBI single before Wesley Drain’s sacrifice fly tied the score 9-9. Darien Brown then bounced a two-out single through the left side to drive in Larry Barraza with the go-ahead run.
“We never gave them a chance to get themselves out,” Cador said of the eighth-inning walks. “If you watch batting practice, you know many fastballs (hitters) don’t do anything with.
“Its even more so in the game. As long as you locate it, you can throw a fastball and get people out.”
Southern had two men on with one out in the top of the ninth, but Mason Diaz hit into a game-ending double play.
Southern scored eight of its runs off of Grambling starter Jordan White and reliever Devin Washington. The big inning was the third when Anthony Valdes’ two-run triple highlighted a four-run uprising.
Lewis stroked a single to center to drive in Javeayan Williams with the fourth run. But, like Hodge in the eighth inning, Mateo was thrown out trying to advance from first to third for the third out.
Williams turned in a defensive gem for Southern when he robbed Johan Mojica of a home run in the bottom of the seventh.
With two out and a runner on third, Mojica hit a shot to deep left-center. Williams leapt at the wall to pull the ball in before it left the park.
“It was a line drive and I was just running,” Williams said. “I didn’t even know I was that close to the wall until my left fielder told me. When I looked back, I knew it might go over, so I had to jump.”