The Southern baseball team takes a four-game win streak into its series at Prairie View, beginning with a doubleheader at noon Friday.
The Jaguars were searching for answers barely a week ago when outfielder Tyler Kirksey stuck his head into coach Roger Cador’s office.
Cador told Kirksey he didn’t have time to talk because he had to get to “an important meeting.”
But Kirksey persisted.
“He said, ‘I need to talk,’ ” Cador recalled.
So Cador delayed his meeting and listened to what was on Kirksey’s mind — as well as that of his fellow upperclassmen.
“Rather than just being a hardline coach,” Cador said, “I listened to what he had to say and I took it to heart.”
The gist of what Kirksey had to say went like this: Cador was harping on all the team’s shortcomings during its poor start to this season, and that was making things even harder on the players.
“When you’ve had the amount of success I’ve had,” said Cador, who has nearly 800 wins in 30 seasons as the Jaguars’ coach, “you want more.
“I’m not coaching any less; I’m just not expressing my disappointment as much.”
There has been less to be disappointed about lately, as Southern (7-15) has moved into third place in the Southwestern Athletic Conference West with a 5-6 record.
“He’s been a little softer,” Kirksey said of Cador. “He changed how he gets his message across to the new guys.”
Kirksey said he felt an urgency to meet with Cador because the Jaguars were hitting the middle of the conference schedule. He recalled a situation in his freshman season in 2012 when Southern had lost seven in a row early in the conference season, and some seniors had a similar meeting with Cador.
The Jaguars wound up winning their final 16 regular-season games.
“I thought it was important to speak with him because we were struggling and nothing was going our way,” Kirksey said. “I wanted to be proactive because the Grambling series was a big series, and I didn’t want us to have another year like last year.”
Southern failed to qualify for the SWAC tournament last season after finishing 6-16 in the conference and 10-26 overall.
At the end of their meeting, Kirksey had one more suggestion for Cador.
“He said, ‘I need to hit leadoff because I’m the best leadoff hitter,’ ” Cador recalled.
So Cador and assistant coach Dan Canevari talked it over and granted Kirksey’s wish.
He went out in a doubleheader last Saturday and went 3-for-8 with two triples and four RBI as Southern swept both games to start a series sweep.
“I saw a shift in attitude,” Cador said of the genesis of the streak. “We’re swinging the bats better.”
During the win streak, Kirksey is 5-for-16 with six RBIs and four runs. No. 3 hitter Jose de la Torre is 5-for-15 with seven RBIs and four runs as well as homers in each of the last three games, including two in a 5-4 victory at against McNeese on Tuesday.
Cleanup hitter D.J. Wallace has a hit in three of the four games, including a triple and a homer.
Prairie View (4-7, 8-19) won two of three against Southern five weeks ago at Lee-Hines Field.
Follow Les East on Twitter: @EastAdvocate.