The most runs Southern gave up in a single game last season was 14.
It took just five innings into this season for the Jaguars to give up that many.
Making it worse, it came against rival Grambling.
The Jaguars dropped a season opener they would like to forget Friday night, falling 15-0 in seven innings to the Tigers on the first day of the three-day MLB Urban Youth Invitational at Wesley Barrow Stadium.
Southern coach Roger Cador, in his 32nd season, said his team was playing without four starters but wouldn’t elaborate on why they were out. He said they will return next week.
“I’m never too concerned about Game 1, especially when you’re playing short-handed,” Cador said. “The fact that we were short without four of our key players could have deflated our kids. It happened so quick. We played a lot of young freshmen. And we got here late. But we don’t want to make any excuses.”
Grambling, which lost six straight games to Southern last season, broke it open in the second inning, scoring five runs to build a 7-0 lead. Designated hitter Andres Castillo started the inning with a solo home run off Southern starter J’Markus George, and later Tray Bell belted a two-run double off the left-field wall. The Tigers sent 10 batters to the plate in the inning,
“You can’t start the season any better than this,” said Grambling third baseman Daniel Barnett, who had three RBIs. “We knew hitting was going to be our thing because we hit well all fall. We were locked in.”
George, a junior left-hander, lasted just two innings. He gave up six hits and walked four batters. He was replaced by freshman Josh Sparks after walking the leadoff batter in the third inning. Sparks couldn’t stop the bleeding, either. Grambling scored four more runs in the third and four more in the fifth to take a 15-0 lead. It surpassed the season-high 14 runs Southern gave up last season in a 14-1 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette.
“We didn’t make mistakes, so that was the one good thing about it,” Cador said. “We just didn’t throw strikes. We just walked a lot of hitters and they hit the ball when they had to. It’s a learning experience. If it’s a film, we’ll throw it away and come back and play better (Saturday).”
Grambling outhit Southern 13-5.
Southern’s first hit of the season came in the third inning when Franky Montesino singled. Robinson Mateo also singled in the inning, but the Jaguars came away empty. Mateo, who plays second base, also had a defensive gem, diving to his right to rob a Grambling single in the fourth and helping sit the Tigers down in order for the first time.
Montesino was one of the few bright spots, going 2-for-3. Javeayan Williams and Mason Diaz also had hits for Southern
Perhaps a silver lining for the Jaguars is that they also lost to the Tigers in last season’s Urban Invitational. Southern responded by winning all six of its SWAC games against Grambling.
“We’ll get a lot better because we’re young,” Cador said.