NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Following a heart break 4-2 loss in College Station to the No. 4 Texas A&M Aggies Tuesday night, Stephen F. Austin put one in the win column with a 10-3 blowout in their home opener against Grambling State.
Less than 24 hours after dropping one on the road, the Lumberjacks (1-3) took on Grambling (2-2) in the first meeting of a home-and-home series between the two teams.
The `Jacks were led by sophomore shortstop Hunter Dozier, who finished 3-for-5 at the plate, highlighted by a grand slam that gave SFA the lead and all the offense it would need get their first win of the 2012 season. The grand slam was the second of Dozier's career, with his first coming against McNeese St. on April 22 of last season, and his third homerun of the early 2012 season. The Denton, native would also record a double and a single, finishing with four RBI and three runs scored.
Infielders Freddy Villalobos and senior Bryce Cummings would join Dozier, with two hits apiece, as the only other Lumberjacks to record multi-hit games. Overall eight different SFA players would combine for the 12 hits in the game.
Freshman Cameron Gann (1-0) got his first win of his young career and first for the 'Jacks, tossing two scoreless innings of relief, striking out one and walking two of the nine Tigers he would face. Gann was one of four pitchers, who came on in relief of starting pitcher Brett Higginbotham. All five relief pitchers would put up scoreless frames, to silence the Tigers through the remaining seven innings of the game.
The Tigers would strike first to open the game, taking advantage of Thomas Brown's single to center field to plate O.J. Simmons who walked earlier in the inning, but the `Jacks would answer in the bottom of the frame with a two-run blast over left center from senior Jarid Scarafiotti. The homer brought around Dozier, who singled one at bat earlier, and gave Scarafiotti his first hit of the season.
The second inning would be the last time Grambling would get on the board as three different Tigers singled to right field to reclaim the lead, going up 3-2 over SFA.
After three silent innings from both teams, the `Jacks broke it open in the bottom of the sixth. Following a leadoff single from freshman Joseph Olson and walk to Max Lamantia, Zach Benson evened things up with a single up the middle. SFA wasn't finished yet however as after back-to-back Lumberjacks were hit by a pitch to give them a one-run lead, Dozier cleared the bases with a grand slam home run over left field.
The 'Jacks would tack on two more insurance runs, off of three consecutive hit from Villalobos, Dozier and Jordon Lenaburg, in the bottom of the eighth before turning things over to Cass Ingvardsen who closed out the ninth.
The `Jacks will be back in action this Friday when they travel down to Arlington, TX, where they will play two games against Missouri State as part their participation in the UTA Tournament.