Whatley's Walk Off Sends 'Jacks Past Broncs
April 28, 2008
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Matt Whatley smashed a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 11th inning to give the `Jacks an 11-10 win over UT-Pan American on Monday to give SFA its fourth straight win.
SFA (17-26) scored in seven of nine regulation innings to take the lead after UTPA (14-25) scored seven runs in the third inning to open up an 8-2 lead early in the game. However, freshman Jared West came in from the bullpen to hold the Broncs through 5 1/3 innings before finally allowing a leadoff runner to score to start the ninth.
West's efforts on the mound kept the `Jacks within striking range, and SFA's bats took advantage behind seven extra-base hits that included three home runs.
Bruce Mayberry picked up his first career win in relief, pitching scoreless 10th and 11th innings while only allowing one bloop hit. Evan Cunningham took the loss for UTPA with a 4 2/3 inning effort.
SFA took an early lead on an unearned run in the first inning before UTPA scored eight unanswered runs, with the bulk coming in their seven-run third inning. Four of the Broncs' runs in the inning were unearned as SFA went through three pitchers in the inning before finally having West enter to begin his stint. The damage could have been worse had Kevin Crabtree not ended the inning with a bullet throw to home plate that nixed a potential run for the final out - his third outfield assist in just two days.
Kevin Croft drove in a run for SFA in the bottom of the inning on a sacrifice fly to get the `Jacks started chipping away at the lead. Brian Ferguson brought them two runs closer with a opposite-field home run, his second of the year, over the right-field fence in the fourth.
Crabtree led off the fifth with a double and scored an unearned run in on a fielding error by Broncs' second baseman Jose Mendoza to make the score 8-5. Noel Trevino came up one inning later and hit his first home run in over a month - a first pitch, two-run homer - to get the `Jacks within a run at 8-7.
In the eighth, the `Jacks got back-to-back singles from Justin Roland and Sean Meyers to lead off the inning and Ferguson tied things up at nine apiece one batter later with an RBI groundout to second, his third RBI of the afternoon. Jeff Brewer then delivered his biggest hit of the day with two outs, launching a go-ahead triple to dead center field that scored Meyers.
SFA added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, and did not realize how important that was going to be until the ninth. After West gave up a leadoff walk, Donnie Watson went to the bullpen in favor of Jeremy Tamez who, after getting the inning's first out, loaded the bases before being taken out of the game himself. Angel Hernandez eventually worked through the ninth, but not after Andrew Perez singled down the left-field line to score the tying runs.
The `Jacks had their chance in the bottom of the ninth as Ferguson led off with his third hit of the game, a double, into the right-field corner. Whatley then bunted pinch runner Gabriel Garcia-Serrano to third to give SFA the winning run just 90 feet away with less than two outs. Then, with the infield drawn in, Brewer lined a bullet towards Perez at shortsop, but the Perez had him played perfectly and as able to throw Brewer out at first without the runner advancing. Crabtree had a chance three batters later to end it, but he grounded out to Perez with the bases loaded to send the game to extra frames where Whatley would end it with his heroics.
The `Jacks and Broncs finish their series on Tuesday beginning at 1:00 p.m.