The first game of the series between the Jaguars and Golden Lions is set to start at 6 p.m. today. On Saturday they were initially set for a 2 p.m. start, but it's been changed to a later time, and on Sunday they'll start at 1 p.m.
In their mid-week contest against Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Golden Lions fell short 14-1.
The Golden Lions were able to record hits as they had nine compared to Nicholls' 12. However, UAPB just had a bad day all around from the mound, and Nicholls took advantage. UAPB Head Coach Carlos James spoke on how they felt about the guys that they pitched prior to the game and how they didn't get the results they were looking for.
"It started with pitching," James said. "We didn't get good pitching that day from none of the guys that went out. We started Antione Luster, and they ended up scoring seven on him. Austin Softley was next, then it was Nathan Sawrie, and then Jordan O'Guinn. We hoped they could've given a solid performance, but they never gave us a chance to get in the game."
Heading into their weekend series against the Southern University Jaguars, the Golden Lions have to put that one behind them as they look to stay in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Western Division race.
At the top of the SWAC West Standings is Grambling State at 8-4, and Texas Southern is a half-game ahead of UAPB at 7-4. Southern is in fourth, and if they drop this series to UAPB they could end up five games back of third place.
"This is a series that you look to win so you can stay on pace," James said. "We're half of a game out of first. To come to Baton Rouge has always been tough, but hopefully this weekend we can come away with a series victory."
Last weekend against Prairie View the Golden Lions brought out the brooms for their first sweep of the season. Tim Reynolds, Peyton Burks and Tyrus Lopez were the three starting pitchers in that order from Friday-Sunday. Burks pitched a complete seven innings in an 11-1 blowout win for UAPB. Lopez cleaned up on Friday and pitched a complete 10 innings on Sunday for the series-winning 6-5 win.
"It's odd, but it's a good thing this late in the season," James said of their weekend starting pitchers. "It's odd you get three complete games like they did last weekend. I think they did a great job, and hopefully, they can repeat that performance and get us some victories."
Sergio Esparza, Jacob Columbo and JP Soriano all have pretty solid batting statistics on the season. However, it's guys like Ricardo Sanchez, who had two RBI's on Friday, Jarficur Parker, who recorded three RBI's on Saturday, and John Magnunson, who had two RBI's on Sunday, who are rounding out the rotation.
"You hardly ever have all of them hitting at one time, but if you can have two or three to pick it up when the others go cold that's a good thing," James said. "Hopefully at some point we just get in a rhythm where there's nobody getting hot, and the whole team is consistent. That should get us a nice amount of wins, especially if the pitching is where it needs to be."
In their last SWAC series, Southern dropped two games out of three against Prairie View. Since then, the Jaguars have dropped four straight non-conference games on the road.
"We're going to dodge rain for the next three days," James said. "It looks like it'll be clear Friday. The plan was to start at 2 o'clock Saturday, but we talked with them and we're moving it back to 5 or 6, and Sunday it's supposed to be clear. Hopefully, we can get all three in."