'Jacks Falter In 9th In Season Opener
Feb. 16, 2013
MOBILE, Ala. - Three unearned runs in the bottom of the ninth inning spoiled a two homerun season-opening performance for senior Freddy Villalobos, as the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack baseball team fell 7-6 to the South Alabama Jaguars Friday night at Eddie Stanky Field in Mobile, Ala.
SFA (0-1), who only trailed once, entered the bottom of the ninth with a 6-4 edge. After Cory Maltz (0-1) retired fellow senior Jeff DeBlieux, USA (1-0) capitalized on a walk, error and hit by pitch to load the bases with one out. One batter later the Jaguars would tie the game on a single down the left field line from senior Brent Mitchell. After an infield throwing error loaded the bases, a sac fly from senior Robby Campbell would prove the game winner, plating senior Whitt Dorsey, to arrive at the 7-6 final.
The pair of SFA infield errors were the only miscues of the game.
The `Jacks recorded 11 hits in the game, highlighted by Villalobos' two-for-five performance. Villalobos added two runs and two RBI in his multi-homer game, the first of his career.
Three other SFA players recorded multi-hit performances in the loss. Juniors Mackenzie Handel, Max Lamantia and Zach Marberry, joined Villalobos with a pair of hits each. Handel finished two-for-four, with a double, single, RBI and run scored, while Marberry finished two-for-three with two singles and an RBI. Lamantia finished two-for-five with two singles.
Senior Brett Higginbotham was the lone standout on the mound for the `Jacks. The Hutto, Texas, native scattered two hits across three and two-thirds scoreless innings of relief, finishing with two strikeouts and a walk.
SFA got on the board early courtesy of a one-out homerun from Villalobos in the opening frame to take a 1-0 lead.
Following a scoreless second inning for either team, USA would respond with two runs of its own in the bottom of the fourth. With three consecutive singles from Cole Billingsley, Bud Collura and DeBlieux to load the bases, the Jaguars tied it 1-1 on a hit by pitch from starter Chase Greening. USA would take a 2-1 lead one batter later on a double play.
The `Jacks would respond their next time to the plate to retake the lead 3-2. Hunter Dozier, following a leadoff walk, stole second base before coming around on a double to center field from Handel to make it 2-2. After Lamantia singled to left field to put runners at the corners, Handel scored on an infield single from Marberry.
Higginbotham would retire nine of his final 11 batters faced to keep the `Jacks on top going into the ninth.
The 'Jacks will look for their first win of the season Saturday at 2:00 p.m., when they pit Kyle Cross against fellow junior Jacob Noble.