Prairie View defeated Southern 8-2 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference baseball opener for both teams Friday afternoon at Lee-Hines Field.
But the Jaguars could’ve just as easily said they beat themselves as the Panthers took advantage of pitchers’ lack of control and fielders’ miscues.
Southern walked eight batters and hit four, and the Jaguars committed five errors. Although only one run was unearned, the miscues took a toll on the pitchers.
“Throw in a bunch of bad at-bats and it all adds up to an 8-2 defeat,” Jaguars coach Roger Cador said.
Southern is 0-4 overall and Prairie View is 3-6 going into a doubleheader at noon Saturday.
“We’re going to play young people,” Cador said. “We’re going to make mistakes, but we’re going to get better. It’s early.”
One freshman was a bright spot as right-hander Tyler Robinson entered the game with a 3-0 deficit and the bases loaded with one out in the first. He went on to pitch 4.2 innings, allowing just an unearned run.
“Tyler Robinson did an outstanding job,” Cador said. “This is what we need. The freshmen are going to get opportunities to pitch and show us what they can do.”
Jaguars starter Santos Saldivar (0-2) struck out Cody Den Beste leading off the game, then lost contact with the strike zone. He hit Walter Wells with a pitch, yielded a single to Grant Dougherty and Anthony Fernandez reached on an error by Marcus Hodge at third to load the bases.
Cador said Saldivar lost focus after hitting Wells and throwing to first several times before going after Dougherty.
“Santos was just trying to overthrow,” Cador said.
After loading the bases Saldivar walked in three runs by allowing consecutive bases on balls to Connor Wrye, Kevin Macias and Joseph Mack.
“I just didn’t have it today,” Saldivar said. “I couldn’t find it at all. I felt great. The pitches just weren’t coming the way I wanted.”
Robinson, who played at Ponchatoula High School, relieved and struck out Carson Lee and Josh Jefferson to keep the score 3-0.
“I was a little nervous coming in with the bases loaded and one out,” Robinson said. “I toed the rubber, took a deep breath and took it one pitch at a time.”
The Jaguars cut the deficit to 3-1 in the third. Phillip Williams led off with a walk and stole second. Lance Jones followed with a walk and Marcus Tomlin sacrificed the runners over. Jose de la Torre’s sacrifice fly sent home Williams.
Robinson, who said he’s “definitely not” a strikeout pitcher, got five of his first 10 outs with strikeouts, but his defense let him down in the sixth.
Mack led off with a single to left and continued to second when the ball skipped past Theo Smith for an error. Mack went to third as Lee reached on Williams’ two-base error at short and Williams’ error on Jefferson’s grounder loaded the bases, finishing Robinson.
“The defense got us in a big hole,” Cador said.
Harold Myles relieved and walked Dougherty, forcing home a run.
Southern got within 4-2 in the seventh on Nkosi Djehuti-Mes’ RBI-single, which finished starter Alberto Aveytia (1-1), who gave up three hits and two runs in 6.2 innings. Dougherty came in from right field to throw two scoreless innings of relief.
The Panthers extended the lead with four runs against Myles in the eighth. Dougherty squeezed home one and Darrien Williams singled home another before James Fontenot relieved and allowed a two-run triple to Macias.
Follow Les East on Twitter: @EastAdvocate.