Former Catholic High School left-hander Dylan Gregoire had a successful homecoming, and it was a pretty good night for his Loyola teammates as well.
Gregoire (1-1) got the win by pitching two scoreless innings in his first start of the season, and Luis Aguinzola led the offense with a home run in the Wolf Pack’s 7-6 victory over Southern on Tuesday night at Lee-Hines Field.
It was just Gregoire’s third appearance since he suffered a brain injury during fall practice.
“It was important for us to get the win,” Loyola coach Doug Faust said. “But it had extra meaning with him pitching.”
Gregoire, who a senior who was part of Catholic’s state championship team in 2010, was much more effective than he was in either of his two relief appearances. After allowing four runs against Spring Hill a week earlier and three against Mobile over the weekend in a pair of one-inning outings, Gregoire allowed two singles and struck out one before reaching his pitch count.
He was just cleared medically to face hitters two weeks ago and he’s still working to regain his rhythm.
“When he came in against Mobile, the bases were loaded, so that was a tough situation,” Faust said. “Being able to start with a clean inning tonight helped. Just being on the mound is helping him.”
Loyola (20-28) hosts Auburn-Montgomery in a three-game Southern States Athletic Conference series starting Friday at Segnette Field.
Southern (10-22) begins at three-game nonconference series at South Alabama on Friday.
Gregoire estimated he had a support group of 15-20 friends and family members in the stands.
“That helped calm my nerves,” Gregoire said. “I wasn’t as nervous as I was for my first game back. I settled in and I’m a little step closer to reaching my potential.”
The Jaguars were unable to maintain any momentum from a three-game sweep against Prairie View over the weekend.
“We came out flat and probably took this team lightly,” said Southern coach Roger Cador, whose team beat the Wolf Pack 5-4 on March 23 at Wesley Barrow Stadium. “That’s one of the things you have to watch out for with a young team. We just sleepwalked through the first six or seven innings.”
The Wolf Pack gave Gregoire a 1-0 lead when Ben Condara singled and Jordan Wilson doubled him home in the second against Jaguars starter Harold Myles (0-6).
Anguinzola doubled the lead when he led off the fourth with his eighth homer of the season. Two errors and a wild pitch contributed to three more Loyola runs as Lance Licciardi hit an RBI-double and Spencer Rosenbohm an RBI-grounder.
The Wolf Pack made it 7-0 in the fifth on Wilson’s bases-loaded walk and Licciardi’s sacrifice fly.
Southern scored in the bottom half when Joel Buhler walked three batters and hit Troy Lewis. Jordan Green relieved and got a double play and a force-out.
Lewis drove in the Jaguars second run when he hit his second homer of the season in the seventh.
In the ninth, Robinson Mateo drove home a run with a fielder’s choice and Jose de la Torre hit a three-run homer.
Follow Les East on Twitter, @EastAdvocate.