NEW ORLEANS – A late three-run shot by Southern’s Johnny Johnson helped the Jaguars fend off an upset-minded UAPB team by a score of 11-7 Wednesday night during the 2019 SWAC Baseball Tournament.
Down 8-4 entering the top of the seventh, Justin Robinson sparked the Golden Lions with a one-out single and after stealing second and third, he scored on a single by Larry Sims to inch UAPB closer. In the eighth, the Golden Lions managed to get runners on second and third with one out, forcing Southern to call on closer Connor Whalen.
A wild pitch allowed another UAPB run, and during an inning-ending double play, the Golden Lions plated another run to pull within one. In the bottom of the eighth, Southern’s Tyler LaPorte reached on an error, eventually advancing to third on a wild pitch. After a walk put runners on the corners, Johnson cleared the bases with his home run. From there, Whalen closed it out to record his eighth save of the season and maintain his spotless ERA.
Eli Finney got the win for Southern, going seven innings and striking out five while allowing nine hits.
LaPorte and Blaise each went 2-for-5, scoring a combined five runs.
Four UAPB players – Nick Kreutzer, Ricardo Sanchez, Robinson and Mackey – had two hits each.
The sides traded runs early before UAPB put together a run in top of the fourth. Jarficur Parker reached on a fielding error during a potential inning-ending play, and Tywan Mackey followed with a single. Parker scored on a Davion White single, and Mackey – who stole third – scored on a Robinson base hit.
The Jaguars rallied in their half of the frame, loading the bases before LaPorte knocked a RBI single to bring Southern within one. Javeyan Williams tied it with a RBI single and an errant pitch struck Wheatley, bringing another Jaguars run home and chasing UAPB starter Race Tittle.
Malik Blaise later turned on a pitch for a solo shot, pushing Southern’s lead to 6-4. The Jaguars continued to apply pressure, as Zavier Moore hit a two-run double to push the advantage to four, where matters stayed until UAPB’s comeback attempt and Southern’s late-game push.