A rough weekend for the Southern baseball team started before Friday and continued through a weekend series sweep by Tulane.
Three starters suffered injuries, forcing coach Kerrick Jackson to rely even more on freshmen to fill roles as Tulane won 16-2, 7-0 and 10-2. Southern (6-9) had won four consecutive games going into the series and will try to get back on track Tuesday with a 6 p.m. game at UNO.
Senior center fielder Hampton Hudson and designated hitter Jovante Dorris had shoulder injuries, and catcher William Nelson suffered a high ankle sprain in Friday’s game. Dorris will undergo surgery for a torn labrum, and Nelson is out indefinitely.
Hudson returned as a designated hitter, but his status is also unknown with the Jaguars first SWAC home series this weekend. Jackson played Brad Jenkins, who is coming off Tommy John surgery last summer, Michael Wright and Derrick Mays in center field.
“We had to ask a lot of freshmen and other guys to step up and they got exposed a little bit," Jackson said. "We made too many mistakes. Obviously, Tulane is a good ball club, but we didn’t make it very hard for them. Saturday was our best shot. It was close until we gave up the five-spot in the seventh inning."
“There were times we had six or seven freshmen on the field. We had guys out of position, we dropped some fly balls Sunday. We’ve got to grow them up. It is what it is.”
Jackson also found out pitcher Anthony Fidanza is done for the season and will require Tommy John surgery. Pitchers Markavion Boyd and Jackson Cullen are also trying to get healthy. Staff ace Eli Finney is throwing without pain and could be back in as soon as a week.
Jackson said outfielder Garrett Felix and third baseman Zavier Moore played well at time over the weekend. Felix had two hits, including his first home run. Jahli Hendricks had three hits in 11 at-bats. Wil Allen allowed three earned runs in four innings and had six strikeouts in the opener. Darren Smithy allowed five hits and two runs in six innings with six strikeouts on Saturday.
“I don’t think Wil Allen did too badly; we just didn’t play defense behind him,” Jackson said. “Same with Darren; his pitch count got up there. We had some bright spots. The mistakes are mistakes of youth, inexperience and anxiety."
Bohannon to start Tuesday
Jerome Bohannon has apparently earned the midweek starter job and will start Tuesday against UNO. He struck out 13 batters in nine innings in his past two outings. He allowed two runs in five innings against Northwestern State but threw 84 pitches.
“He’s trending in the right direction,” Jackson said. “There are times he’s really good. We need to get him more consistent.”
Southern leads the SWAC West Division with a 3-0 record with Texas Southern right behind at 4-2. Arkansas-Pine Bluff, which plays a series at Southern this weekend, is 3-3, followed by Grambling (1-2) and Prairie View (1-5). Alabama State leads the East Division with a 5-0 mark, followed by Jackson State at 3-0.