PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas — It doesn’t make up for all the blown leads and rough weekends in a downright rotten season, and it won’t help Southern qualify for the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament later this month.
But Saturday’s doubleheader sweep of Prairie View put a smile on Roger Cador’s face.
Maybe, even if it’s far too late, the Jaguars are headed in the right direction.
“This has been a terrible season,” said Cador, whose team will miss the SWAC tournament for the first time in his 30-year coaching tenure.
“We’ve lost some games in demoralizing fashion. But we’ve been able to keep (the players) together. And more than anything else, they’ve kept it together themselves.”
Southern rallied twice in Saturday’s first game, erasing a one-run deficit in the ninth inning to win 9-8 in the kind of game it has given away so often this season, one that’s been loaded with leaky defense and a suspect bullpen.
In the second game, a 5-2 win, the Jaguars got a solid effort from J’Markus George (1-4), who gave up two runs on eight hits in seven innings to pick up his first victory of the season.
Victor Ilarraza threw the final two innings to pick up his first save of the season.
With Saturday’s two wins, the Jaguars (10-25, 6-15 Western Division) clinched their first series. It came on the final weekend of the year.
Southern also earned the victories with a sparsely populated dugout. Citing concerns about their arms, Cador shut down No. 1 pitcher Santos Saldivar and closer Rafeal Diaz for the final weekend, and injuries and attrition left the team with only 18 traveling players.
“We didn’t have the numbers to distract us,” Cador said. “Everybody was pulling for everybody. It’s good to have that 25-man roster, but it also brings headaches because not everybody can play.”
In the first game, Southern scored three runs to take a 6-5 lead over Prairie View (18-27, 10-12), then fell behind 8-7 in the eighth inning.
The Jaguars then got a two-run double from D.J. Wallace in the top of the ninth, scoring Jose De La Torre and Marcus Tomlin.
Wallace was 3-for-10 with six RBIs in the doubleheader. Robinson Mateo was 5-for-9 with two runs and two RBIs.
Southern’s season ends at 1 p.m. Sunday with a single game against the Panthers.
Harold Myles (0-0, 1.12) will make his first start of the season.