Jackson State ends Southern win streak, 12-9 _lowres

Advocate file photo by John Oubre -- Southern pitcher Rafael Diaz

Southern’s seven-game win streak came to and end when some bad habits returned Tuesday night.

The Jaguars had a series of missed scoring chances and fielding and base-running miscues that contributed to a 12-9 loss to Jackson State at Lee-Hines Field.

Southern had largely purged the self-inflicted problems during the win streak, which began after an 11-5 loss at Jackson State two weeks earlier.

“We took some bad at-bats,” outfielder Tyler Kirksey said. “We were trying to do too much at the plate. Instead of taking what they were giving us, we tried to pull the ball too much.”

The Jaguars had nine hits, but didn’t take full advantage of eight walks and left nine runners on.

Southern (10-16) hosts UL-Lafayette at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Jackson State is 21-11.

The Jaguars got a solid spot start from closer Rafael Diaz and a solid 3.2-inning relief stint from Harold Myles — but in between, Justin Freeman allowed all four of the batters he faced to reach base in the middle of a five-run fifth that turned the game around.

“Freeman had trouble throwing strikes,” coach Roger Cador said, “and when he did throw strikes they hit him.”

The Tigers scored the tie-breaking run after two were out in the eighth against Myles. Lamar Briggs singled and stole second when shortstop Robinson Mateo couldn’t handle Jose de la Torre’s throw.

After a walk, Jovany Felipe blooped a single to right, bringing home Briggs and bringing on J’Markus George to relieve Myles. Jesus Santana followed with a three-run homer for an 11-7 lead.

Southern got within two in the bottom half on Marcus Tomlin’s two-run single, but the tying runs were stranded in scoring position when Gavin Webster struck out. D.J. Wallace left the game during that inning after injuring his nose on a slide into second base, but Cador said he thinks Wallace will be OK.

“I just told the guys that the hallmark of a good team is the way they bounce back,” Kirksey said. “I told them, let’s start another streak.”

JSU scored an unearned run in the top of the sixth to break a 6-all tie, and Southern scored an unearned run in the bottom half to tie the score again.

The Tigers scratched out a run against Diaz in the second to break a scoreless tie. Santana led off with an infield single, Tilur Smith sacrificed him to second, Diaz balked him to third and Sam Campbell hit a sacrifice fly.

The Jaguars loaded the bases with none out in the bottom half when Wallace and Troy White walked and Rivers Frederick beat out a bunt. One out later, Sergio Torres hit a three-run double.

Frederick started a fourth-inning rally with a one-out infield single. Mateo followed with an infield single to third, and Frederick scored and Mateo reached third when Smith threw the ball away at first.

That finished JSU starter Vincent Anthonia and brought on reliever Sebron Mackey, whose balk sent home Mateo for a 5-1 lead.

Lance Jones walked, went to third on Kirksey’s single and continued home on a throwing error.

Diaz walked the first two batters in the fifth. He was relieved by Freeman, who allowed a single, hit a batter to force in a run and yielded two two-run singles to tie the score.

“We just didn’t come out prepared to play,” Cador said. “I had to get on them during infield, which is never a good sign. When you have a job to do, you can’t be half-hearted about it. You have to execute and we didn’t do a good job of that.”

Follow Les East on Twitter: @EastAdvocate.