The Southern baseball team will spend the next 10 days packed onto a bus, traveling the state of Texas, playing six games in three cities.
Whether they like it or not, the Jaguars are about to get a little closer.
Southern (6-13, 3-5 Southwestern Athletic Conference) begins the trip with three games at rival Prairie View — a team that has lost five of its first six games in Western Division play. But don't sleep on the last-place Panthers, first-year SU coach Kerrick Jackson said.
“(Prairie View is) similar to the other teams in the league that if we don’t come play our best, they’ll beat us,” Jackson said.
Small but costly mistakes have plagued the Jaguars this season — for starters, they have committed 30 errors in 19 games —and playing a clean game is something that Jackson is trying to stress as the season chugs along.
“We just keep making little mistakes here and there,” Jackson said, “so we just have to keep coaching them through that. Hopefully it’s a trial-and-error process that as they make the mistakes, they learn from the mistakes they make and make adjustments as a result.”
The Jaguars lost 12-1 at Southern Miss on Tuesday night as the Golden Eagles scored 10 unanswered runs late in the game. Southern held Southern Miss scoreless for five innings until the floodgates opened. The Jaguars committed just one error in the field but stranded eight runners and had a chance to tie the score in the seventh.
“We had a chance to tie it up," Jackson said. "We had a chance to score in the first inning and we didn’t execute. It’s just our guys understanding how the game is to be played and then doing the things that are necessary when those opportunities present themselves to put us in a position to be successful.”
Right-hander Jacob Snyder (1-3, 9.69), who threw a scoreless first inning against Southern Miss, will start Friday. Prairie View will counter with Darrien Williams (1-3, 6.51).
Following the series, the Jaguars will travel to San Antonio on Tuesday to face Incarnate Word before heading to Dallas for games against Dallas Baptist and Xavier.
Jackson hopes the trip will be beneficial to his team: The Jaguars face quality nonconference opponents while being on the road for a long, long time.
But he did this on purpose.
When Jackson was hired last summer, he made some adjustments to the schedule, putting together the 10-day road trip.
He wanted to give his players a chance to practice on the road when they didn't have a game. He also wanted to create an atmosphere in which the team could do a bit of bonding.
Jackson also hopes the Jaguars can sneak in a few wins, too.
“This is something these guys have never done as far as be gone for this long," he said. "It will give us an opportunity to focus on baseball and hopefully we just get out there and continue to grow as a ballclub.”
Source : http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/sports/southern/article_5c43e384-2e3f-11e8-a95c-a3ae331308ff.html