ATLANTA — Southern rallied for three runs in the top of the eighth inning to defeat Bethune-Cookman 4-2 in their first game at the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament.
The Jaguars (23-26) will play again at 5 p.m. Thursday, facing the winner of Wednesday night’s late game between Grambling and Jackson State.
Bethune-Cookman (29-26), the No. 2 East seed, will play again at noon Thursday, facing the loser of Wednesday’s late game.
Southern, the No. 3 Western Division seed, had managed just one run over the first seven innings against Wildcats ace Nolan Santos. The Jaguars’ rally started with some help. O’Neill Burgos reached first on a one-out fielding error by third baseman Luis Tuero. Gustavo Nava Sanchez followed with a double into right field, and when BCU’s Hylan Hall misplayed it, Burgos came around to score.
Southern’s Khyle Radcliffe followed with an RBI double, chasing Santos (7-4) from the game. BCU reliever Joan Gonzalez retired the first batter he faced — but Hunter Tabb followed with a two-out double down the left-field line, which brought in Radcliffe and put Southern ahead 4-2.
Jaguars reliever Enrique Ozoa took it from there — aided by his defense.
Ozoa pitched a clean eighth inning but ran into trouble in the bottom of the ninth, when the Wildcats had a runner on second and the tying run at the plate with two outs.
But Manny Souffrain lined out to second baseman Jah’li Hendricks, who threw to shortstop Justin Wiley to double off the runner at second, ending the game.
Nicholas Wilson (6-2) pitched seven innings for the Jaguars. He allowed two runs on three hits, striking out nine and two walks.
The Wildcats amassed just five hits on the day, stranding four in the process.
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