Advocate news services
This first season under Kerrick Jackson got off to a rough start, but the Southern baseball team started to get it together over the past week.
Just in time for the games that matter most.
The Jaguars, fresh off back-to-back wins against Alabama State and Alcorn State, crank up divisional play at 1 p.m. Friday when they begin a three-game series at Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Only divisional games count in the Southwestern Athletic Conference standings, and this weekend’s series at the Torii Hunter Baseball Complex marks the start of Southern’s Western Division schedule.
SU (3-5) defeated Grambling in New Orleans on the first day of the season but suffered five losses in its first six games —two to Illinois-Chicago, one to UNO and two more to Alabama State.
During the final three games of that skid, the Jaguars gave up 40 runs.
But Southern rebounded in the series finale at Alabama State, posting a 7-3 win in which the offense came alive.
The Jaguars collected 14 hits, including a pair of doubles from Zavier Moore and a 2-for-4, two-RBI effort from junior college transfer Rashard Raine.
On Tuesday night, in their first game in Baton Rouge this season, the Jaguars came alive at the plate for the second straight game, and sophomore right-hander Markaylon Boyd had a solid outing on the mound in a 6-1 win.
Boyd lasted six innings, allowing one run on five hits and no walks in an efficient, 78-pitch effort.
He gave way to three freshman relievers — Myles Blocker, Austin Haensel and Brandon Sykes — all of whom held Alcorn hitless over the final three innings.
The Braves’ only run came on a third-inning solo homer to No. 9 hitter Brendly Martina.
As for the Jaguars, eight of their nine hitters reached base, and Southern collected 13 hits in all.
Tyler LaPorte was 2 for 4 with a pair of runs and an RBI, one of five SU batters with two hits apiece. Frankie Montesino, Michael Wright and Javeyan Williams all drove in runs.
The teams played at Pete Goldsby Field because Southern’s home park, Lee-Hines Field, is undergoing scheduled maintenance to the infield.
Lee-Hines Field will be available when the Jaguars begin a three-game series March 9 against Texas Southern.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2-3) is coming off back-to-back losses to Georgia Tech and Tennessee.
The teams will play again at 1 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.