Missed Opportunities Cost SFA In Opener
April 21, 2011
LAKE CHARLES, La. - The Lumberjacks got homers from Jackson Hood and Hunter Dozier, but went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded 13 runners on the night as McNeese State picked up a 7-3 win in the series opener on Thursday at Cowboy Diamond.
The loss put an end to a four-game win streak for the `Jacks (26-12, 13-6 SLC), who remain atop the SLC with Texas State in a jumbled league race despite the defeat. Jared West suffered just his second defeat of the year and was hampered by a four-run second inning for the Cowboys (20-20, 9-10 SLC) that gave them an early lead that they never gave up.
Darren Crabtree and Max Lamantia each finished with three singles apiece as part of a 10-hit Lumberjack attack, but the `Jacks left at least one runner on in scoring position in six of the game's nine innings.
Phil Parcell earned his third win of the year for the Cowboys, allowing just one runs with just two strikeouts in 5.2 innings of work, working around seven SFA hits. Three right-handers got in relief work for the Pokes as well, with Jordan Legros earning his league-leading ninth save of the year by setting down the three hitters he faced in the ninth after the first two hitters of the inning had reached.
McNeese had five hits off of West in the first two innings, but bunched together four of them in the second inning to get across their first four runs. The Cowboys got an RBI hitter from Trey Rickrode to open the scoring before Blake Ellender hit a bases-loaded double to left-center one batter later, scoring two. One batter later Jace Peterson got his lone RBI of the day with a grounder to second, giving Parcell a 4-0 cushion to work with.
SFA left a runner on third in the top of the third before getting a leadoff homer from Hood on the second pitch of the fourth inning to get on the board. Then, after a pair of scoreless frames from West in both the third and fourth, it seemed as though SFA was going to jump right back into the thick of things with both Michael Haynes and Bryson Myles found themselves on second and third with none out to start the fifth inning.
But Parcell worked around the 2-3-4 part of the SFA order without allowing a run, using a hard line drive from Jarid Scarafiotti right into the teeth of an overshift to the left side of the infield for the final out.
From there, the Cowboys did what they needed to in adding three more runs in the next three innings. A leadoff triple from Lee Orr in the fifth bumped the lead to 5-1, and a two-out rally sparked by a triple from Peterson in the sixth led to another run. Then, a leadoff double from Nick Eubanks eventually led to a sacrifice fly by Matt Williams, giving the Cowboys a commanding 7-1 advantage.
But the `Jacks still had their chances, most notably in the top of the sixth when SFA chased Parcell from the mound and loaded the bases with two outs against reliever Jonathan Conrad, bringing Myles to the plate as the tying run in a 5-1 ballgame; however, Conrad got Myles to hit the first pitch just in front of the plate for an easy force out to get the lead runner at home.
SFA got two more back in the top of the eighth on a long homer from Dozier, cutting the lead to 7-3 against Conrad. But after a walk to Bryce Cummings, the Cowboys went to the pen to get Zach Butler, who struck out each of the next three hitters to quell any type of a rally.
McNeese then went to Legros in the ninth after both Crabtree and Scarafiotti reached to start the inning, with the Cowboy stopper getting all three of the hitters he faced.
SFA will try and even the series on Friday when Chase Wier makes his first career start. He will be opposed by right-hander Matt Click for the Cowboys in the 6:30 p.m. first pitch.