Taking ‘baby steps,’ Southern baseball team looks for more as it visits Loyola _lowres

Advocate file photo by JOHN OUBRE -- Southern coach Roger Cador

Southern earned its first three-game sweep this weekend.

Now it has to figure out how to keep the momentum going.

The Jaguars swept its series with Selma University last weekend, matching their win total from the entire first month of the season.

It was the best two-day period for Southern all year, and it’s anybody’s guess if it will make a difference heading forward.

“It might not be the fastest way, but we’re gaining confidence,” Southern pitcher Daniel Franklin said. “We’re gaining it piece by piece. We’re taking baby steps.”

Before the Selma series, Southern coach Roger Cador said he was hoping a strong weekend would help turn around what’s been a dismal season so far — and for a few days, it appeared as if the Jaguars might be righting the ship.

Now Southern travels to New Orleans for a 6 p.m. Wednesday matchup against Loyola University at Wesley Barrow Stadium.

The Wolf Pack (16-18) has won 15 games at home this season but enters Wednesday’s contest on a three-game skid.

“Loyola is tough and they play good, tough baseball,” Cador said. “We’ll just try to pitch more people and see how it works and try to get better.”

With its recent improvements — which includes 9-8 loss at Nicholls State last week — Cador said he’s growing more comfortable with the Jaguars’ lineup, especially after moving Tory Lewis to shortstop and to the leadoff position in the batting order.

Cador still wants to experiment at first base until expected starter Johnathan Crain returns from preseason hand surgery, though. Sophomores Marcus Hodge and John Pope split time against Selma.

But at this point, the major concern for the Jaguars appears to be finding a reliable option in the bullpen.

Cador praised all three of Southern’s starting pitchers last weekend, particularly freshman Josh Sparks who made his first start of the season Sunday.

But once the the Jaguars reached into their reserves, they struggled to get timely outs.

Southern allowed four runs on three hits and three walks in the 3.2 innings in which non-starters worked against Slema.

Usual weekend starter Harold Myles will start Wednesday after missing the Selma series because of a death in the family.

Myles is 0-4 this season with an 8.00 ERA in 18 innings. He has allowed a team-leading 16 earned runs on 27 hits.

“I’m getting more and more pleased with the offensive side ... and with the new alignment on the infield, we’re playing better defense — especially on the left side,” Cador said. “It’s a big marked improvement on our defense, and now our pitchers are showing improvement.

“We just need to make sure we continue getting better.”