LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri: How Southern nearly pulled a stunning upset _lowres

Advocate staff photo by JOHN OUBRE - - Southern pitcher Tyler Robinson pitched 7 innings against LSU.

Southern visits Jackson State on Tuesday in a mid-week game that’s not a typical mid-week game.

Though the schools are both members of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, this game will not count as a conference game, nor will their meeting April 7 at Lee-Hines Field.

Because the schools are in different divisions, they will not face one another in any games that count in the SWAC standings.

The Jaguars go into this game with an extra day off because their home series against Texas Southern was moved up to last Friday and Saturday to dodge rain later in the weekend.

Jackson State, on the other hand, goes into this game 24 hours after playing a home doubleheader against Mississippi Valley State that was moved from Saturday because of the weather.

The Tigers were 2-3 in the SWAC and 12-8 overall heading into Monday’s doubleheader. Southern is 2-6 and 3-13.

The Jaguars will start freshman right-hander Tyler Robinson (0-0, 3.40) and follow with a series of relievers.

Southern is fourth in ERA in conference play (4.82), but ninth in batting average (.232). Coach Roger Cador is still searching for a lineup he’s comfortable with. He juggled his lineup last weekend, but never found all the answers he was looking for as TSU swept the series, winning 7-3, 4-1 and 8-4.

The only players to start at the same position and bat in the same spot in the order for all three games were second baseman Marcus Tomlin (second) and catcher Jose de la Torre (third).

Shortstop Robinson Mateo and first baseman Sergio Torres started all three games, but for the series finale, Mateo moved from the eighth spot in the order to leadoff and Torres moved from seventh to eighth.

“We’re still trying to find the right combination, the right lineup,” Mateo said. “If we start to get a little more offense we’ll start to get some wins.”

Cador tried three different outfield combinations over the weekend. D.J. Wallace started the first game in right and Troy White started the next two, though Wallace hit for him and replaced him in the third game.

Phillips Williams replaced Lance Jones in center for the middle game, bur Jones returned for the finale. Theo Smith replaced Tyler Kirksey in left for the third game.

“My outfield is struggling,” Cador said. “That makes it tough because they’re a key part of our success.”

Statistically, JSU has been nearly the opposite of Southern, ranking third in batting average (.291) and 10th (last) in ERA (.938).

Follow Les East on Twitter: @EastAdvocate.