Amid the season the Southern baseball team has had, coach Roger Cador didn’t have high hopes for the Jaguars’ final home game of the season.
That proved to be the correct approach.
Southern lost to Jackson State 21-3 in seven innings Tuesday, marking the second time in seven days the Jaguars allowed more than 20 runs.
The Jaguars (12-29) were never competitive after Jackson State (30-24) scored nine runs in the first inning, eight of which came before Southern recorded the second out.
“No one likes losing, especially when you lose this bad,” Cador said. “But I anticipated some things to happen that weren’t going to be beautiful, all for the good of the program. Take a hit now to be better in the next couple of years.”
Southern pitcher Joseph Sanchez (0-1) was dinged early when Jackson State third baseman Jesus Santana hit an RBI single up the middle to score Calvin Newsome from second.
But what really put the Jaguars in the middle of what Cador called an “impossible battle” was back-to-back home runs by Lamar Briggs and Jonah Hargroves to give the Tigers a 5-0 lead.
It didn’t stop there. Jackson State rallied for four unearned runs before the inning’s end.
It would be the first of two times the Tigers batted around Tuesday, falling one at-bat short of making it three times in the seventh. Jackson State outhit Southern 14-7.
Cador said he had no choice but to leave Sanchez in the game through the first inning because Southern didn’t have any other options.
Tuesday was the fourth of five games the Jaguars will play in six days, including the regular-season finale at Tulane at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Cador entered the game knowing he had to leave Sanchez in no matter what happened, needing to save arms for Wednesday and then the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament next week.
In his first start of the season, Sanchez allowed 13 runs (seven earned) on eight hits. He walked five and hit one batter while striking out three in four innings.
Cador said left-hander Bryan Melendez will start against Tulane.
“We have two games in the middle of the week, and we’re short on pitching,” Cador said. “We could not afford to burn up pitchers. We have Tulane tomorrow night on the road, so it’s just one of those things that the pitcher had to eat up the inning, take the lick and do it for the team.”
Cador said there wasn’t much positive to a game in which the Jaguars lost by so many runs, but he said he was happy to see two seniors be honored as part of the team’s senior night festivities.
Catcher Jose De La Torre went 0-for-2 in his final game at Lee-Hines Field, while pitcher Victor Ilarraza gave up three runs on three hits in the seventh inning.
“We always appreciate what our seniors do for us, and Jose is no exception,” Cador said. “They stayed through the program. It’s tough because we let go some of (De La Torre’s) friends to be in the situation we’re in to put the program on track, to be able to get down the road in two to three years without a lot of issues. He’s the one that took the bullet for us.”