For the second consecutive game, Southern got what it wanted out of its starting pitching — but this time, the bullpen faltered.
Grambling scored a game-changing five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning as it rallied for a 9-5 Southwestern Athletic Conference win Saturday afternoon at Lee-Hines Field.
Southern starter Harold Myles left the mound with one out and two men on base in the bottom of the seventh. The Tigers (3-6, 1-1) then collected three consecutive RBI hits, and added runs on an error and a wild pitch.
Myles finished with five strikeouts and one walk, and mostly scattered six hits. He was hurt by two Jaguars errors, and only three of the five runs he allowed were earned.
“I lost a little steam in the sixth and seventh innings, but I wanted to battle back and get through that,” Myles said. “We lost a little bit with the bullpen, but (Sunday) we’ll get back at it.”
All told, four Jaguars relievers faced nine batters, allowing four hits — including a double and a triple. Unable to slow down Grambling’s bats, they were charged with four runs after letting both runners left by Myles cross the plate.
Southern coach Roger Cador said the Jaguars (2-7, 1-1) are still learning which relievers they can trust.
“Its early in the year and you’ve got to find out if there’s someone else you can depend on in the bullpen,” Cador said. “Yes, it cost us a conference game, but we’ve still got a long way to go.”
Southern led 5-3 in the seventh, but Grambling put runners at first and second with one out. Jarrod Jarreau relieved Myles, but an errant throw by catcher Jose De La Torre on double steal let the first run come home.
Jarreau gave up an RBI single by Angel Peguero that tied the score.
Losing pitcher Joseph Sanchez then gave up an RBI double and an RBI triple. The final run of the inning came across on a wild pitch.
Southern had eight hits over the first four innings and led 5-2 — and the lead could have been larger.
Southern loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth inning, but only came away with one run.
Javeayan Williams hit a grounder to first baseman Tray Bell, who threw out John Pope at the plate. With the bases still loaded, Robinson Mateo delivered an RBI single to right, but a relay throw cut down Anthony Valdez trying to score from second.
Troy Lewis grounded out to second to end the inning. Southern’s bats then fell silent as the Jaguars managed only two hits over the next five innings.
“Harold Myles gave us a chance to win, but we blew an opportunity in the fourth inning,” Cador said. “We should have gotten two more runs. When you don’t apply offensive pressure, those are the kind of things that will kill you.”
Grambling starter Isaac O’Bear survived the shaky start and lasted until one out in the eighth inning to pick up the win.
Cador was frustrated by the Jaguars’ inability to adjust to O’Bear’s pitching off the outside edge of the plate in later innings.
“(O’Bear) was throwing everything away, everything away,” Cador said. “And we wouldn’t make the adjustment. We decided we weren’t going to take good fundamental swings.”
De La Torre led Southern’s offense with a home run, a double and four RBIs. Designated hitter Marcus Hodge was 3-for-4 with a double.