GRAMBLING — Derrick Hopkins hit a grand slam in the second game, and Jesse Holiday pitched seven strong innings in the first game Saturday as Southern’s baseball team never trailed in winning twice, by scores of 8-3 and 10-7, at Grambling.
“We’re making some progress,” Southern coach Roger Cador said. “We’ve got some pieces that are working. We’ve got some pieces that still need some work. When we inculcate them back into the machine, we have a chance to be a really decent team.
“We have good enough players. If we work together, we can really do some good things.”
Southern (9-7, 5-3) will try to sweep the Southwestern Athletic Conference Western Division series when the two teams play at 1 p.m. today.
“It’s good to get the sweep, especially at Grambling,” Cador said. “Now, we’ve got to find a way to win Sunday. If we’re able to pull that off, that puts us back in pretty good shape in the league.”
Southern 8, Grambling 3: Holliday (3-1) struck out just two but didn’t walk anyone in seven innings. He took an 8-1 lead in the seventh before Grambling (4-13, 2-5) scored twice in the seventh.
Santos Saldivar then closed out the final two innings.
“We got really good pitching from ‘Doc’ Holiday,” Cador said. “He really gave us a chance to build a lead. We had some struggles in the seventh, but we were able to weather the storm. Saldivar shut the door. He got out of a bases-loaded jam.”
Gavin Webster had a leadoff double to spark a three-run third and a two-run home run in the sixth, going 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs to lead the Jaguars.
Southern had 14 hits.
Hopkins and Caleb Hatcher each went 3-for-5 with a run and an RBI for Southern, while Jeremy Lopez was also 3-for-5, with a run. Plus, Marcus Tomlin and Jose DeLa Torre each went 1-for-3, with Tomlin scoring twice and driving in a run and DeLa Torre also driving in a run.
“We got some timely hits,” Cador said.
Brandon Kiser as 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI to lead Grambling.
SOUTHERN 10, GRAMBLING 7: Hopkins’ grand slam in the third inning gave the Jaguars a 5-1 lead, and Southern led 9-3 before Grambling took advantage of two errors to score four runs in the eighth.
“He’s been swinging the bat really well,” Cador said of Hopkins.
Webster, who was 1-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs, led off the sixth with a home run.
Hatcher went 3-for-5 — with two doubles and an RBI — for the second straight game, while Tomlin (2-for-3, run, two RBIs) and Brian Ortiz (2-for-3, one run) also helped the Jaguars to 10 hits.
Southern starter Jose DeLeon struck out seven and walked one in seven innings but left after Kiser reached on an error to start the eighth and scored on Kris Minter’s triple.
Webster’s sacrifice fly in the ninth gave Southern a 10-7 cushion.
“We obviously are very relaxed on the road,” Cador said. “We just had a breakdown in that eighth inning, and that caused us a lot of headaches, but we were able to hang on.”