`Jacks Clip Cardinals In Tourney Opener
May 25, 2011
SAN MARCOS, Texas - Jarid Scarafiotti hit an RBI double in the bottom of the eighth inning and Jason West pitched a perfect ninth as the No. 2 seeded Lumberjacks came back to take a 3-2 win over No. 7 Lamar in the opening round of the Southland Conference Tournament on Wednesday at Bobcat Ballpark.
It is just the second postseason win in history for the Lumberjacks (35-21) and the first since a 2007 win in the SLC Tournament over McNeese in an elimination game, making Wednesday's win the first for SFA in the opening round of the tournament.
"It's the first win we've had since I've been here, and the first win we've ever had on day one, so that's really big. That sets you up to do some damage, and stay a little longer," head coach Johnny Cardenas said. "It's never any good to come in as a 2-seed and be two-and-done, so that's really been the focus for our guys. You can't take anything away from Lamar. They did a great job. That's a testament to how tough our conference is. Our conference has come a long way. When a 7-seed plays a 2-seed all the way to the end, it means that your conference is moving in the right direction."
The win was made all the more sweet as the `Jacks were able to hand the loss to Lamar's (29-26) Stephen Tromblee, who knocked off SFA in complete-game fashion in the regular season's final game to pitch the Cardinals into the league tournament.
The `Jacks took their only lead of the day in the next half inning with Darren Crabtree drawing a one-out walk from Tromblee in front of Scarafiotti, who kept a grounder just inside the third-base bag and managed to get it all the way into the corner with plenty of time for Crabtree to score all the way from first base with the winning run.
"I knew if we could get one in the gap we could score Crabtree from first, but I didn't know it was going to be down the line," Cardenas said. "Great job on his (Scarafiotti's) part, having to catch in this heat, that many innings, in this tough of a game showed a lot of character from that kid."
SFA was held in check early on by Cardinal starter Blake Ford, who allowed just three singles in the first five innings before the `Jacks were finally able to break through with four hits and two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to erase what was a 2-0 Lamar lead.
Alex Moshier picked up the win despite needing just one pitch to pick up the final out of the eighth inning before handing it off to West in the ninth who coaxed three fly outs by the Cardinals to earn his 10th save of the year.
Three `Jacks finished with two hits apiece, including Scarafiotti, Hunter Dozier and Bryce Cummings. The comeback helped hold up a solid start from senior Tyler Herriage, who allowed just two runs in six innings of work in taking a no decision.
The Cardinals used a bloop single from Jeff Abt and a double off the left-center field fence by Pablo Salinas in the second inning to score their first run, and added another in the top of the fifth on a sacrifice fly from Wade Mathis.
But after cruising through the first five frames, Lamar's Ford ran into trouble in the SFA half of the sixth inning with Bryson Myles getting the rally started with a leadoff double. After a one-out steal of third base, Crabtree plated him for the first Lumberjack run with a sacrifice fly before Scarafiotti ignited another rally one batter later with a two-out single. Jackson Hood followed with a sure single of his own and one batter later Dozier tied things up at 2-2 with a sharp single through the left side of the infield to score Scarafiotti from second base.
Reliever Brad Oates then came in to retire the first five hitters he faced before hitting Ted Zentek with two outs and nobody on in the top of the eighth. Moshier then entered and threw just one pitch to end any chance of a Lamar rally, getting Salinas to hit a routine fly ball to left field.
SFA will continue on in the Southland Conference Tournament on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. when it takes on UTSA. The No. 6 Roadrunners knocked off No. 3 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 3-2, in 10 innings in the opening game of the tournament to advance in the winner's side of the bracket.