HOUSTON — With men on second and first base, Southern infielder Marcus Hodge struck out as the final out in the ninth inning, stranding the game-tying run on first base as Texas Southern defeated the Jaguars 8-6 on Friday.
Southern (12-26, 6-12 Southwestern Athletic Conference) began with a leadoff solo home run from Troy Lewis, and the Jaguars took a 2-0 lead after the first inning.
The Jaguars were ahead 3-2 going into the bottom of the fifth.
That’s when the Tigers (20-23, 11-10) scored big.
Texas Southern rallied for five runs in the fifth to pull ahead 7-3, taking advantage of reliever Troy Lewis’ “missed pitching locations,” as coach Roger Cador put it.
The Jaguars got out of the inning with a double play.
Cador said Lewis’ most painful misses came with two strikes in the count, which directly led to two of TSU’s five runs in the fifth.
Southern tried to mount a ninth-inning comeback, narrowing the Tigers’ lead to only two runs at 8-6, but Hodge’s strikeout ended the three-run rally and the game.
“We made it a game,” Cador said.
Hodge’s strikeout left two men on base and an opportunity to win. Stranded runners have been plaguing the Jaguars in recent outings, Cador said.
The second game of the series is at 2 p.m. Saturday. The regular-season finale is at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Both teams have already clinched berths in the SWAC tournament in New Orleans.