Southern baseball coach Roger Cador said he went back to “old school coaching” after watching his team start the season 0-5.
The Jaguars began with three losses in the MLB Urban Youth Invitational by a combined score of 36-2. Then they started a weekend series at Auburn with losses of 18-6 and 7-0.
After that, assistant coach Dan Canevari suggested Cador lean on the coaching style he has used to great effect during his 32 seasons.
“Dan said, ‘Put your foot down,’ ” Cador said Monday, a day after Southern avoided a sweep with a 6-5 victory. “ ‘Do the things you’re used to doing. Don’t worry about them being sensitive.’
“I told them, ‘This isn’t high school any more. You’re being paid to do a job in terms of receiving a scholarship. If you don’t do the job, you’re going to essentially get fired.’ You have to make demands, and that’s what I’ve done over the years. It worked.”
Cador said the players were much more focused Sunday. After committing six errors Friday and two Saturday, the Jaguars played error-free ball in the finale. They had more timely hitting, stranding seven runners — half the number they stranded Friday. They stranded just one Saturday, but they had just two hits and no walks.
“Hopefully we can build on what we accomplished Sunday,” Cador said.
Southern plays Jackson State at 7 p.m. Tuesday at MGM Park in Biloxi, Mississippi — the new stadium for the Biloxi Shuckers, the Double-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Jaguars were bolstered by the addition of shortstop/closer Troy Lewis, catcher Jose de la Torre and outfielder Dondrayas Harris — the team’s No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 hitters — who were unavailable the opening weekend while awaiting academic certification.
“That helped a great deal,” Cador said.
Lewis went 5-for-13 with a run in the series and got the save Sunday by pitching 1.2 scoreless innings. De la Torre had a hit in each game, going 4-for-10 and scoring twice. Harris was 4-for-11 with four RBIs and four runs.
A fourth addition, left-hander Jarrod Jarreau, allowed two unearned runs in one inning of relief Friday. He’ll start against the Tigers (4-3) and is scheduled to pitch two or three innings. He’ll be followed by a series of relievers making one-inning appearances.
Follow Les East on Twitter, @EastAdvocate.