SB: Jaguars ready for the 2018 season
The Jaguars began their 2018 season on the practice field of Southern University. Amid a short one, the Jags will be back at it as they gear for a division title and another berth to the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament where they fell one game shy of the tournament finals. Southern is set to open up their season today at the Urban Youth Academy in New Orleans, Louisiana due to inclement weather. The Jags will face the Lady Bisons of Howard University originally scheduled for February 16.
Southern University returns the most experienced lineup in the league this season, bringing back 12 players from last year squad, and bringing two newcomers sophomore transfer Elizabeth 'Lizzie' Donaldson a right-hand pitcher from Bosqueville, Texas; and freshman infielder Alison Walton from Troutdale, Oregan.
The Jaguars returns seniors Sydney Andrew, Kiara Suttles and Jamani Greer. These three ladies have been the key component to Southern turnaround over the last three season each has played 100, 99, and 93 games respectively.
Suttles after having a stellar 2016 campaign where she led the nation in Home Runs Per Game, Runs Batted in Per Game, and Slugging Percentage. She led the team with 31 runs, eight home runs, a stolen base, and doubles; second on the team with 35 hits and a base-on-balls. She ranked 10th in the NCAA being struck by piece.
Andrew lead the team with 100 games played and 100 hits tied with Suttles. Last season she led the team with 36 hits, third on the team scoring 23 runs and stole nine bases.
Greer has played 95 total games and played a career-high 37 games, recording 62 career hits. In 2017 she recorded 21 hits, 18 RBIs, a career-high .304 batting average.
Southern University head coach John Garris enters his fourth year at the helm of the Jaguars Softball program.
The Jaguars had a strong start to the 2017 season, pouncing out the gate to a 10-5 start, where the defeated Mississippi Valley State 2-1 in a three-game series in Itta Bena, Miss. Southern hit a snag in the middle of the schedule going 2-11, Losing series to Prairie View, Texas Southern, and UAPB. A win in the rubber match versus Texas Southern and a series sweep versus Grambling gave the Jaguars just enough to enter the Southwestern Athletic Conference Softball Tournament as the fourth seed.
Southern became the Cinderella team, upsetting the top-seeded Alcorn State and Alabama A&M in the first two rounds of the tournament. The Jaguars was pounced on by the Lady Tigers of Texas Southern, the defeat sent SU to the loser bracket to face 2016 defending SWAC Champs Alabama State. A seventh-inning rally fell one run sort of meeting Texas Southern in the finals ending their season.
After the season opener, the Jaguars will face the University of Virginia and Houston Baptist at the Cowgirl Classic, February 10th in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Southern will face Nebraska-Omaha for their home opener.
Southern will have home games versus Kentucky State, Howard (SWAC/MEAC Challenge), Spring Hill (SWAC/SIAC Challenge), Mississippi Valley, Alcorn, UAPB, Nicholls, PVAMU, Jackson State and Grambling State. The Jags away games will be against Alabama State, Southern Mississippi, South Alabama, Texas Southern, Southeastern Louisiana. The Jaguars will play in four tournaments, Cowgirl Classic (Virginia/Houston Baptist), National HBCU Classic (Huston Tillotson, Edward Waters, Texas College, Langston) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; University of Houston Tourney (Stephen F. Austin, Texas A&M-CC) in Houston, Texas; HBCU Classic (North Carolina Central, South Carolina State, Savannah State, Alabama A&M) in Atlanta, Georgia.
Stay tuned to gojagsports.com over the coming days as we feature a breakdown of Softball positions.