The Southern baseball team claimed a 10-3, season-opening victory over Stillman College of Tuscaloosa, Ala., on an error-filled Friday night at Pete Goldsby Field.
The Jaguars, who entered the contest having played just two intrasquad scrimmages and with limited on-field practice time due to renovations at Lee-Hines Field, committed three errors and totaled 12 hits.
“All in all, you have to be pleased,” coach Roger Cador said. “We just haven’t had the time on the field. I really feel like we’ll get better as we go along and are able to do more things on the field.”
Southern senior left-hander Jesse Holiday gave his team five solid innings, giving up one earned run on three hits and a walk with three strikeouts.
The Jaguars’ offense — aided by four Stillman first-inning errors — gave Holiday a three-run cushion after one inning that held up.
Tyler Kirksey led off the first inning with an infield single and scored on a throwing error.
Kirksey singled in his first two at-bats but was lifted for a pinch runner in the fifth inning after drawing a walk and advancing to third base. Cador said Kirksey suffered an injury to his hamstring and will be “out for a while.”
“That hurts us with him going out,” Cador said. “We don’t have another player with that type of speed that can do what he can do. If he can’t run, he’s not any use to us at this point.”
Later in the first inning and already leading 2-0, designated hiter Derrick Hopkins singled to right to plate sophomore Stephen Wallace for SU’s third run.
“It always helps scoring early because now Doc (Holiday) has three runs to work with against a pretty good hitting team,” Cador said. “We were able to hold them off. Doc made really quality pitches.”
Stillman cut into the deficit in the top of the second, scoring a run on a throwing error by Southern second baseman Kevin Williams with two outs to bring the score to 3-1.
In the top of the third, Tigers third baseman Fernando Tanaka hit a sacrifice fly to deep right, scoring catcher T.J. Rock and cutting the Tigers’ deficit to 3-2.
The Jaguars pushed their lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the third when Hopkins singled with one out and scored from third base on a wild pitch three batters later.
Jaguars sophomore Santos Saldivar entered in the sixth and pitched three scoreless innings before giving up a run in the top of the ninth. In his first full-speed action since resting his throwing elbow during preseason practice, Saldivar finished with seven strikeouts and one walk.
“I haven’t really been throwing full-speed because I’ve been scared of hurting my elbow,” Saldivar said. “This is the first night I was able to really let it go.”
The Jaguars tacked on two runs in the bottom of the eighth, with one coming on a Hatcher RBI double and the second on a wild pitch.