Southern’s break from Southwestern Athletic Conference play this weekend appears to be coming at a good time.
The Jaguars had a rough midweek, losing home games to Jackson State 12-9 on Tuesday and Louisiana-Lafayette 14-1 in a game shortened to eight innings by the mercy rule Wednesday.
Southern plays a doubleheader against Loyola at noon Saturday, then visits the Wolfpack for a single game Sunday, weather permitting.
“This is a perfect time to not have a conference weekend, because it gives young guys who are going to have big roles for us more at-bats, and it gives pitchers some innings,” outfielder Gavin Webster said. “Everybody gets some work in. We’re going to work on getting everybody’s at-bats up and innings up.”
The Jaguars plan to start left-hander James Fontenot and right-hander Tyler Robinson on Saturday, holding back No. 1 starter Santos Saldivar for a day because he threw 151 pitches in a complete-game victory at Prairie View last week.
Coach Roger Cador said the Jaguars (10-17) lapsed into the bad habits they had mostly shaken during a seven-game win streak that preceded the midweek losses. Nine pitchers gave up a combined 28 hits and 24 earned runs in 17 innings, though none of the weekend starters pitched.
Cador said he talked to the hitters about competing harder when faced with two-strike counts.
“I would say it’s a good time to not have a conference weekend,” Cador said. “We’ve got a chance to maybe re-right the ship. We’ll have to try and get them ready for the weekend to try and play fundamental baseball and do things better.”
The Jaguars expect to have cleanup hitter D.J. Wallace back in the lineup. Wallace injured his nose while sliding into second base against Jackson State and was held out of the UL-Lafayette game as a precaution after experiencing dizziness.
Webster said the team has confidence it can turn things around again after having done it once already.
“We have to get back to where we were when we were on the winning streak,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of confidence in ourselves. We’ve got a lot of confidence in each other. We’ve just got to show it on the field. We’re going to fine tune things and get back at it this weekend.”
Loyola is 21-22 after winning two of three at Blue Mountain College last weekend.
Follow Les East on Twitter: @EastAdvocate.