For the second straight day the Southeastern Louisiana University Lions tried to mount a late rally in Baton Rouge. For the second straight day, the Lions fell just short. This time the SLU baseball team (23-17) fell to the Southern Jaguars (16-7) by a final score of 6-5 on Wednesday night.
The loss evens the season series between the two in-state rivals at one game apiece and snaps a four-game winning streak the Lions had against the Jaguars, dating back to Feb. 23, 2007.
The Jaguars jumped out to an early lead as Southern’s Romey Bracey led off the bottom of the first with his third home run of the season to make it 1-0.
Southern struck again in the bottom of the third. Toddrick Stevenson doubled to right to lead off the inning and took third on a sacrifice bunt by Bracey. Jags’ first baseman Victor Franklin followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0 after three.
Meanwhile, the Lions struggled early on against Southern southpaw Chase Richard. Richard retired the Lions in order in each of the first three innings, needing just 29 pitches (23 strikes) to set Southeastern’s first 11 batters of the game down in order.
Senior left fielder Brandon Street became Southeastern’s first baserunner of the night with a two-out single to center in the top of the fourth. However, Richard made sophomore third baseman Josh Cryer his third strikeout victim of the night to turn Southeastern away in the fourth.
Southeastern finally broke through against Richard in the fifth as junior right fielder Philip Freeman doubled to left with two outs. Freshman shortstop Justin Boudreaux singled home Freeman for the Lions’ first run and advanced to second on the throw. Senior infielder Jordan D’Arensbourg then tied things up with a pinch-hit RBI single to knot the score at 2-2.
After Southeastern right hander Josh Janway held the Jaguars scoreless in the bottom of the fifth, Street gave the Lions their first lead of the ballgame by leading off the sixth inning with his team-leading sixth home run to make it 3-2.
Southern rallied in the home half of the sixth, however, as Jaguar right fielder Juan Mujica doubled to right with one out. With the tyinig run at second, head coach Jay Artigues brought on senior right hander Ryan Collins in place of Janway.
Unfortunately, Collins was greeted by an RBI double off the bat of Gregory Whitfield that scored Mujica to tie things up at 3-3. A slow-rolling infield hit up the third base line by Jesse Olivar put runners at the corners. After Collins struck out Stevenson, Olivar stole second and Bracey singled home a pair of runs as Southern reclaimed a 5-3 lead.
After a walk to Franklin, senior right hander Chris Cappo came on in relief. Cappo’s first batter, Jaguar left fielder James Armstrong, singled to right to score Bracey. However, Franklin was thrown out trying to advance to third as the Lions headed to the seventh down 6-3.
Southeastern wasted no time chipping away at that deficit as Freeman singled to right and Boudreaux doubled to left to start the seventh. D’Arensbourg picked up his second RBI of the night with a sacrifice fly to right that plated Freeman to make it 6-4. Senior second baseman Ty Summerlin followed with an RBI double to make it 6-5 heading to the bottom of the seventh.
After a scoreless eighth, the Lions tried to mount one last comeback in the top of the ninth. D’Arensbourg led off with a single to right center field to put the tying run on first. However, a 1-6-3 double play ball off the bat of Summerlin erased D’Arensbourg, and Southern reliever Kyle Wahl struck out Hargis for the final out.