Improving Southern visits McNeese _lowres

Advocate staff photo by JOHN OUBRE -- Southern's Tyler Kirksey is congratulated by teammates after hitting a first-pitch homer during Sunday's 4-3 win over Grambling at Lee Hines field. Cador said that after the Jaguars hit two early home runs, 'We all wanted to hit home runs.' He hopes to get Southern to play more fundamental baseball against McNeese State on Tuesday night.

The Southern baseball team had its most successful weekend in two years when it swept three games from Grambling on Saturday and Sunday.

Coach Roger Cador was cautious not to read too much into that performance because he saw the Jaguars “revert to some bad habits” in a 4-3 win Sunday. But perhaps it was also encouraging for Southern that it could overcome bad habits to win.

The Jaguars (6-15) will try to continue their streak when they visit McNeese State (17-11) at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Lake Charles.

Southern got off to a good start Sunday when Tyler Kirksey led off the bottom of the first with a home run, and Jose de la Torre hit another two batters later.

“Because we hit two home runs,” Cador said, “we all wanted to hit home runs.”

That led to some bad at bats as Southern scored just two more runs. And Cador was upset that the Jaguars twice popped out while trying to put down sacrifice bunts.

“I want to see a few more games,” Cador said. “But if we can stay the course, continue to play (good defense) and hit with runners in scoring position, then we can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

The Jaguars committed one error Sunday after committing two in each game of a doubleheader Saturday.

The hitting wasn’t as consistent Sunday as it was in 10-1 and 9-6 wins Saturday, but after Grambling took its only lead of the series with two runs in the fifth, the Jaguars scored the tying run in the fifth and the go-ahead run in the sixth.

“The offense is definitely starting to come around,” right-hander Tyler Robinson said.

Closer Rafael Diaz said it was a boost for the team to play well all weekend. He cited the previous week when Southern played one of its best games of the season before falling to then-No. 1 LSU in 10 innings, then got swept by Texas Southern.

“(The sweep) means a lot for us, because we’ve been struggling with a lot of ups and downs,” Diaz said. “To get a sweep tells us that we can be a good team if we stay together and keep playing hard like we did the whole weekend.”

The tone for the weekend was set when pitching coach Dan Canevari challenged the team during a pregame meeting Saturday. Cador didn’t attend the meeting, saying it would be better for the players to hear a different voice from his.

“(Canevari) got on us,” de la Torre said. “We realized we were a better team than we had been playing. That got us more into the games.”

The Jaguars plan to start right-hander Harold Myles (0-1, 9.60) against Cowboys right-hander Clay Brast (0-0, 4.35).

Follow Les East on Twitter @EastAdvocate.