STARKVILLE, Miss. (WAFB) - Southern saw its amazing turnaround from a season ago come to an end Saturday at the hands of Miami in the Starkville Regional.
The Jags fell 12-2 to the Canes. Southern finished the season with a 32-24 overall record and a SWAC championship.
Eli Finney started on the mound for Southern. He struggled in the first inning but then did a good job for the next three. However, after giving up a two-run hit in the fifth, Finney’s day was done. He gave up eight runs on seven hits in 4.1 innings of work. He struck out four batters and walked five others.
Rhett Hebert relieved him. He only faced two batters before head coach Kerrick Jackson went back to the bullpen. He next called upon Jackson Cullen. Hebert walked a batter and gave up a double that resulted in a run. Cullen, unfortunately, didn’t fare any better. He allowed a run on a hit and walked three batters. Justin Freeman, Larry Barabino, Tyler LaPorte, Markaylon Boyd, and Jacob Snyder also took the mound for the Jaguars.
Miami started off hot at the plate and put Southern in a hole in the first inning. After the first two batters got out, the Canes put up four runs on four hits, including a two-run double to go up 4-0.
In the top of the second, Finney got some great help from his teammates, his outfielders in particular. First, Javeyan Williams hit the center field wall after making a leaping catch. Later, Hampton Hudson snagged a deep foul ball near the side boundary. It ended up being a three up, three down inning for Finney.
Finney settled in nicely for a few innings after allowing four runs in the first inning but Southern’s offense just wasn’t there in this one. The Jags did not get a hit until the third inning.
Williams stayed red hot with the bat in the Starkville Regional, going 3-for-3 on the day to finish 6-for-6 in the tournament. He ripped a double to right center field, hit a single to left field, and singled up the middle in his at-bats.
Miami starter Evan McKendry threw just 37 pitches through four innings, with many first-pitch strikes. Finney, on the other hand, threw 33 in that first inning.
Things went really bad for Southern in the top of the fifth. With the bases loaded and one out, Miami smacked a single to right center that sent two runs home. Later, with the bases juices again, the Hurricanes hit a bases-clearing double down the left field line. Another run scored on a wild pitch. Then, the Canes kept rolling with a run on a single to right field. They didn’t stop there. A sac fly to right field with the bases loaded once again allowed another runner to tap home plate to put Miami up 12-0.
The Jags would not take the shutout loss, though. In the bottom of the ninth, with two runners on, pinch hitter Rashard Ranie put a single to right field that allowed Williams to sprint home. Later, Zavier Moore singled up the middle to get Courtland Simoneaux across the plate for another run to make it 12-2.
Congratulations to the Jags on a great season.