Late Rally Completes Sweep Of Bearkats
May 2, 2010
HUNTSVILLE, Texas - Bobby Loveless' two-run home run in the top of the eighth sparked a five-run rally by Stephen F. Austin in the final two frames to earn a 13-8 win and completing a three-game sweep over Sam Houston State.
In what was almost a carbon copy of Saturday's wild game, Sunday's game featured the `Jacks (30-12, 16-7 Southland) jumping out to an early 8-2 lead before the Bearkats (17-28, 9-15 Southland) used a big inning to climb back into the ballgame. But for the second straight night it was SFA getting the big hits when it counted in the final innings to secure its first series sweep since the league-opening series at Central Arkansas.
With the win SFA remains in sole possession of second place in the Southland Conference, just 1.5 games behind Texas State. The `Jacks are just one-half game ahead of UT-Arlington, SFA's next opponent.
Cory Ochs allowed just one unearned run in three innings of relief with a pair of strikeouts and just one walk - the only walk issued by three Lumberjack pitchers on the afternoon - to run his record to 3-0.
Jordan Westra was the tough-luck loser, throwing a season-long 4.1 innings of scoreless relief before giving up Loveless' blast in the eighth.
Loveless finished with four hits on the day, including four RBI, while Garrett Smith went 4-for-4 from his leadoff spot as well. Ryan Priest delivered three hits in his first three at-bats and had an RBI as well, giving him nine runs driven in for the series.
The `Jacks struck early for four runs in the first inning, using three straight two-out doubles from Loveless, Priest and Bo Coffman off of Bearkat starter Paul Spinn to stake itself to an early lead.
SFA starter Justin Braddock gave back a pair of unearned runs in the bottom half of the inning on a two-out shot homer from Mark Hudson, but the Lumberjack offense was there to pick him up one inning later with two more runs on RBIs from Jarid Scarafiotti and Loveless.
Tanner Hines had another RBI single with two outs in the third and after Scarafiotti scored on a passed ball, it looked as though SFA would cruise to the sweep as it held an early 8-2 lead.
But after Braddock had cruised through the first four innings, retiring nine straight hitters at one point, the Bearkats came alive once again for a big inning in the fifth to climb back in the game. Greg Olson and Hudson each picked up RBIs to cut the lead in half at 8-4 before Taylor Davis delivered the big blow of the inning with a three-run blast into the teeth of a stiff breeze that trimmed the lead to just one at 8-7.
Sam Houston tied it up one inning later with another unearned run as Braeden Riley tied it up with a fielder's choice off of Ochs. The teams then traded goose eggs in the seventh before SFA's eighth-inning push.
Scarafiotti led it off by reaching on a wild pitch on a strikeout, just ahead of Loveless' blats that easily cleared the fence just to the right-field side of the batter's eye. Priest came across for another run in the inning on a throwing error by Bearkat catcher Tyler Jones, giving SFA an 11-8 lead after eight frames.
SFA took advantage of the final two of six Bearkat errors on the day in the top of the ninth, getting two more insurance runs for closer Jason West in the bottom of the ninth. West did not take long to close it out, either, striking out two of the four batters he faced in getting the final three outs of the day.
The `Jacks do not have a midweek game on the schedule this week, but travel to UT-Arlington for a three-game series beginning Friday.