The Southern baseball team got its first good news of the young season when three players were academically certified Tuesday.
Shortstop/closer Troy Lewis, outfielder Dondrayas Harris and left-hander Jarred Jarreua are ready to go. Whether they get to make their season debut in the home opener against Jackson State at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Lee-Hines Field is up to the playing conditions.
The game was postponed from Tuesday afternoon because of rain, and how well the field held up after continued rain Tuesday night will determine the status of the makeup.
Though the Jaguars are still awaiting certification for catcher Jose de la Torre, whenever they return to action, they’ll have a stronger roster than when they got swept in three games by a combined score of 36-2 in the MLB Urban Youth Academy Invitational last weekend.
“Now that we know who we have, we can go forward,” coach Roger Cador said. “A lot lot of guys we’re playing are just out of high school. They’re going to be good college players, but it’s going to take time.”
Southern’s opening day lineup featured five freshmen in the batting order, and two other freshmen got starts over the next two days.
The arrival of Lewis, a transfer from Delgado Community College, and Harris gives Cador two juniors he can insert into the lineup. Jarreau, a junior from Livonia via Baton Rouge Community College, is scheduled to start against the Tigers.
Jarreau is scheduled to go two or three innings before a series of relievers make one-inning stints.
Cador said some of the freshmen “went into shock” during the opening weekend.
“They were overwhelmed and weren’t able to help us in crucial situations,” he said. “Our pitchers didn’t do a good job of helping them, and they tried to do more than they’re capable of right now.”
Cador said there were two bright spots over the weekend — junior second baseman Robinson Mateo, who went 3-for-11 and scored one of the Jaguars’ two runs, and sophomore right-hander Daniel Franklin, who started Sunday and allowed four hits and four runs in 5.2 innings of a 6-2 loss to Alcorn State.
JSU is 2-2 after opening the season at home against Tennessee-Martin last weekend.
Bryce Brown, a sophomore outfielder from Walker, leads the Tigers with five stolen bases.
Southern won two out of three games against JSU last season. The Tigers won 11-5 at home in the regular season and the Jaguars won two meetings in the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament, 10-5 and 6-5.
Follow Les East on Twitter, @EastAdvocate.