The Southern Jaguars had wrapped up their first day of the season with a comeback win over their archrival, and Saturday afternoon at Wesley Barrow Stadium in New Orleans, they were closing in on win No. 2 for new coach Kerrick Jackson.
Then everything went wrong.
Illinois-Chicago unloaded for eight runs in the top of the ninth inning and rallied for a 9-5 victory in the Andre Dawson Classic.
Trailing 4-1, UIC sent 12 batters to the plate and collected six hits, including a two-run homer by David Becker and another two-run blast by Aaron Ackerman.
Becker’s homer brough the Flames (2-1) to within one run, 4-3, and Derrick Patrick’s infield single off Southern freshman reliever Brandon Sykes tied the score at 4.
Scott Ota’s RBI singled put the Flames ahead for good.
The comeback spoiled a strong performance by Southern starting pitcher Daniel Franklin, who allowed one run on seven hits in seven innings. He struck out six and walked one.
Zavier Moore was 1 for 2 with two RBIs. Javeyan Williams was 1 for 2 with a triple and a run scored.
The Jaguars’ Ashanti Wheatley drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the ninth and scored on Malik Blaise’s sacrifice fly to left, but the Jaguars hit into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
These teams opened the season Friday afternoon when UIC notched a 3-0 shutout.
Southern rebounded later that night to defeat Grambling 8-7 in 10 innings, giving Jackson his first win as the Jaguars’ coach.
SU visits UNO at 3 p.m. Sunday.