Southern baseball is trying to find its groove before the championship starts next week | From South
Baseball is a numbers game, and the numbers don’t look pretty for Southern University.
The Jaguars (3-9) snapped an eight-game losing streak with a win at Texas-San Antonio, but they’ve lost two of three and will look to build momentum with a game in Houston on Wednesday at 6 p.m. .
The Houston game is part of a seven-game road trip to Texas that will see the Jaguars head to San Marcos for a three-game series with Texas State this weekend.
The time spent on the road, 12 days, provides a unique bonding experience for a team. And South coach Chris Crenshaw has his eye on the March 18 Southwestern Athletic Conference opener at Arkansas-Pine Bluff as the day he wants his team to start taking flight.
“We’re starting to come together,” Crenshaw said. “We had productive conversations in the dugout, during games, after the game. Guys are starting to see what I see when we implode.
“We have to eliminate errors; mistakes and walks killed us, creating big innings.
Crenshaw is always trying out multiple players in different locations. One of his best hitters, Jovante Dorris, didn’t play last weekend while Jah’Li Hendricks picked up starts at second base. Khristian Paul will start on the mound against Houston, and Crenshaw will try several pitchers after him.
The UTSA series was marked by big innings that saw the home side edge Southern 34-22 while the Jaguars committed nine errors, four in each of the losses. The Roadrunners had three four-run innings in Game 1 and a six-run inning in the Final as the Southern pitchers walked 10 batters in the last two games.
Crenshaw singled out Anthony Fidanza, Christian Davis and Joseph Battaglia with strong performances. Fidanza pitched four scoreless, one-hit relief innings to help the win, and Davis allowed just two earned runs in his four-inning start.
Battaglia had bad luck going five innings and allowing 10 earned runs, but only walked one batter.
“Fidanza was good. Davis gave us a chance. Battaglia was solid,” Crenshaw said. “Even though he gave up a few runs, he gave us a lot of innings. He’s been an unlucky pitcher so far. I know that when we get into conference play, it will be battle tested and can fight its way through some games.
Southern continued to hit the ball reasonably well. JJ Rollon had six hits and five RBIs in 15 at bats. Zavier Moore had four hits, including two home runs and five RBIs. O’Neill Burgos had four hits, including a home run, and hit for five runs while starting only two of the games.
Hunter Tabb didn’t play but could return this weekend against Texas State after being hit by a right-hand (pitch) pitch and sustaining a hairline fracture against McNeese State the previous week. Shortstop Justin Wiley and receiver Gustavo Nava Sanchez could also come back from trouble this weekend.
Houston (7-4) has won seven of its last eight games. The Cougars are led by first baseman Ryan Hernandez and outfielder Brandon Uhse. Hernandez is batting .341 with a home run and six RBIs while Uhse is batting .313 with a home run and 10 RBIs, tied for the RBI team lead with former LSU Tiger Zach Arnold.