Four-Run Fifth Inning Propels SFA To Win
May 4, 2013
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks rallied to score four runs in the go-ahead fifth inning and held on for a 6-4 win over Northwestern State on Saturday at Jaycees Field, snapping a five-game losing skid and evening the series with the Demons.
SFA (24-23, 11-9 SLC) overcame a season-high five errors on the day, miscues which led to a pair of unearned by the Demons (14-34, 3-17 SLC). The `Jacks finished with 10 hits from seven players, including two hits apiece from Mackenzie Handel, Joseph Olson and Jackson Hood.
Kyle Cross evened his record at 5-5 with the win, allowing four runs - two earned - on six hits in 7.0 innings of work. Stopper Brett Higginbotham then worked out of a jam in the eighth before retiring all three hitters he faced in the ninth for his seventh save of the year.
Demon starter Cody Butler was saddled with the loss, allowing all six SFA runs with just one strikeout in 4.1 innings. He fell to 2-4 on the season.
The `Jacks built an early 2-0 lead with a pair of two-out RBI hits in the first and second innings. The first came from Handel in the top of the first on a double to the left-center field gap to score Zach Benson, and one inning later Jackson Hood delivered an RBI single of his own in the bottom of the second off of Butler.
Cross kept the Demons off the board until the fourth when Northwestern State struck for three runs. A walk and a double started the rally, but it was a pair of errors on one play by SFA which was the big play of the inning. The `Jacks were willing to give up a run on a grounder from Nathan Lyons, but first baseman Max Lamantia came off the bag early and then overthrew to third, allowing a pair of runs to score and putting Lyons on third. One batter later, Garrett Kilgore scored him on a sacrifice fly.
The Demons added another unearned run in the fifth after a dropped fly ball set up a sacrifice fly from Nick Purdy which put Northwestern State up 4-2. But the lead did not last any longer than the next half inning when SFA erupted for four runs, sparked by four doubles off of a pair of Demon pitchers.
Jackson Hood started the inning with a double into the left-field corner, and two batters later pinch hitter Rene' Moreda scored him with a two-bagger to the left-center field wall to cut the lead to 4-3. One batter later Hunter Dozier tied things up, singling to right field and scoring Moreda from second base. Handel followed that with an RBI double of his own, then Freddy Villalobos greeted new pitcher Steven Spann with an RBI double to right-center field that closed the scoring on the day with the `Jacks ahead 6-4.
Cross then kept the Demons off the board for two more frames before exiting after the seventh. Northwestern State then mounted one last threat, getting a pair of runners on base on a one-out triple by Colt Brinson and a walk to Lyons. That was enough to chase SFA reliever Cory Maltz from the hill in favor of Higginbotham. The SFA closer then coaxed a soft liner to second base from Kilgore before Benson helped him out with a diving play to his left on a grounder from pinch hitter Regan Kaufman that would have scored a run.
SFA will try and claim the series on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. behind senior right-hander Justin Choate.