Southern’s women’s basketball team was recognized for its Southwestern Athletic Conference co-championship during Friday night’s baseball game against Grambling at Lee-Hines Field.
On the diamond, Grambling pitcher Issac O’Bear took control of things the way his younger sister and fellow White Castle alum Skylar did as the Jaguars point guard.
Wesley Drain and Johan Mojica each homered to support O’Bear (5-2), who pitched 7.2 strong innings to beat the Jaguars for the third time this season in an 11-7 Tigers win.
“I had a chance to play in front of my family and I wanted to make them proud,” said O’Bear, who had 22 friends and relatives in the stands. “They don’t get to see me pitch that often, so I had to represent.”
Grambling (11-16, 9-4) beat Southern for the fourth time in five games this season. The Jaguars (8-19, 3-9) lost their seventh straight going into the middle game of the weekend series at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Southern pitchers allowed nine walks, hit three batters and threw three wild pitches. The Jaguars also had five errors and two passed balls.
“The same things keep getting us,” Jaguars coach Roger Cador said.
Daniel Franklin (2-3) started instead of Southern’s usual Friday night starter J’Markus George, who was given an extra day’s rest after throwing 162 pitches last Friday. Franklin allowed five runs, three earned, in four innings.
“We did a good job of capitalizing on their mistakes,” Grambling coach James Cooper said. “(O’Bear) did a good job of getting the leadoff hitters and then he did a good job of finishing innings. When we get two outs we treat it like third down in football — get the job done and get off the field.”
O’Bear was cruising with an 8-2 lead before faltering in the seventh. With one out he walked Javeayan Williams, who scored one out later on Robinson Mateo’s double. Jose de la Torre singled home Mateo and Dondrayas Harris’ single and a walk to Ashanti Wheatley loaded the bases.
“I ran out of gas,” O’Bear said.
Creighton Hoover relieved and induced a groundout from Anthony Valdes.
With one out in the eighth, Hoover hit Malik Blaise and Williams and yielded Troy Lewis’ RBI double. Marlon Pruitt relieved and struck out Mateo on three pitches and got de la Torre to fly out.
The Tigers, who got single RBI from eight hitters, scored two runs in the ninth on Lewis’ throwing error from third and Drain’s RBI-single. Brennan Williams pitched the bottom half and allowed two runs.
Wheatley went 3 for 3 and scored two runs, de la Torre had two hits and two RBI and Valdes drove in two runs.
Grambling scored in the first on Daniel Barnett’s RBI-double and doubled the lead in the second on an RBI-single on the infield by Diamyn Hall.
Southern cut the lead in half in the bottom half on Wheatley’s leadoff triple and Valdes’ RBI-grounder.
Grambling scored twice in the third on Larry Barraza’s RBI-single and Tray Bell’s sacrifice fly.
Franklin was removed from the game after walking the first three batters in the fifth. Bryan Melendez relieved and his first pitch got past de la Torre for a passed ball that sent home the fifth run.
The Tigers scored two in the sixth when Hall led off with a triple and came home on Nicholas Wheeler’s sacrifice fly in front of Drain’s solo home run.
De la Torre got the Jaguars back on the board in the bottom half when he led off with his third homer of the season.
After Mojica homered in the top of the seventh, Southern scored twice in the bottom half to finish O’Bear.
Follow Les East on Twitter, @EastAdvocate.