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Southern caps Invitational with win over Prairie View

Special to

HOUSTON -- When Southern University's Jeremy Lopez went out of the game with an undisclosed injury, Marcus Tomlin was ready to take his place. Tomlin, who came in as a defensive replacement at shortstop in the eighth inning, came up big in the ninth inning with his bat.

Tomlin drove in the go-ahead run and later scored in the Jaguars' two-run ninth, lifting the Jaguars to a 5-4 win over Prairie View A&M on Sunday in the final game of the three-day Urban Invitational at Minute Maid Park.

"That's how our team is. If one guy can't do it, someone will come behind him and pick him up," said Tomlin. "He went down unfortunately and I came in and picked him up."

Tomlin's single off Stephen Lunsford (0-1) scored pinch-runner Thomas Willis to give the Jaguars (3-4) a 4-3 lead after falling behind, 3-0, through four innings. Tomlin scored on Sean Washington's second hit of the game to pad the lead to 5-3.

"Marcus is the one guy I want up there in that situation," said Southern coach Roger Cador. "He's not going to try to do too much. He's going to stay within himself and he did exactly that. He's the ultimate team player."

Trey Price had two RBIs for Prairie View (3-5). Price's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth cut the deficit to 5-4 with runners at the corners and two out. But Jaguars reliever Santos Saldivar (1-0) got Walter Wells looking at strikes to end the game.

Panthers starter Johnathon Mata did not allow a hit until the fifth inning, when Kevin Williams' single drove in Jose DeLa Torre to cut the Panthers' lead to 3-1. Mata allowed only two runs (one earned) and two hits in seven innings with seven strikeouts.

Prairie View was the only team among the four participating teams not to win a game in the Invitational. Last year, the Panthers lost all three games and went on to win the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament.

Richard Dean is a contributor to