Southern visits McNeese State _lowres

Advocate staff photo by JOHN OUBRE -- Southern coach Roger Cador talks to his pitcher Cade LeBlanc and catcher Jose DeLaTorre during a game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The Jaguars play McNeese State in Lake Charles at noon Wednesday.

After the Southern baseball team lost its last home game of the season to Grambling on Sunday, the postgame meeting in left field lasted a little longer than normal.

Coach Roger Cador and his staff reviewed the good and the bad in the Jaguars’ 16-7 defeat as they do after each game. Then Cador had an additional message in the wake of the final home game of five seniors’ careers.

“We wanted to make sure that they understood that for a lot of them, baseball is about to end,” Cador said. “They’re going to be taking the uniform off for the last time. We only have a few games left, and we want them to make sure that they do the very best that they can in these next games.

“I just want them to know that now you are going to go into the real world, and the real world is quite different than what we do out here.”

Though the message was more for the seniors, Cador said, “hopefully it will sink in for the younger kids as well.”

Southern begins its wind-down of the season when it faces McNeese at noon Wednesday in Lake Charles. The Jaguars then have a weekend series at Prairie View, and perhaps a makeup doubleheader at Texas Southern on May 8.

Cador said Southern will finish the season with a short-handed pitching staff because he’s shutting down closer Rafeal Diaz and No. 1 starter Santos Saldivar as a precaution. Diaz has “a tired arm” and Saldivar has a sore muscle in his forearm.

Ryan Flynn will continue in his role as the midweek starter against McNeese. Cador said he might turn to freshman infielder Sergio Torres for an inning even though Torres has not pitched this season.

Torres said he pitched occasionally as a freshman and junior in high school and last pitched in a game a year and a half ago.

“I’m totally available for that,” Torres said of possibly pitching. “I’m here for the team. They’re paying for my school and I’ve got to pay them back.

“I’ll play anywhere. As a freshman, any playing time I get is a gift. I’m willing to do anything to get some playing time.”

McNeese has an unusually busy midweek schedule at home. The Cowboys completed a suspended game against Houston at 5 p.m. Tuesday, then played the Cougars in a regularly scheduled game. Houston won both games.

Southern (8-24) defeated McNeese 4-3 on March 18 at Lee-Hines Field in one of the Jaguars’ best performances of the season. D.J. Wallace’s solo homer in the bottom of the eighth broke a 3-3 tie, and seven Southern pitchers spaced out eight hits.

The Cowboys (23-19) swept Incarnate Word in a Southland Conference series last weekend to move within two games of first place.