SFA Bats Come Alive in 9-4 Win Over UT-Martin
Feb. 28, 2014
NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Stephen F. Austin raced out to an early 4-0 lead after the first inning of play and never looked back, taking a convincing 9-4 victory over UT-Martin at Jaycees Field.
SFA (4-5) had one of its most productive outputs of the season, scoring nine runs on 14 hits as eight different Lumberjacks recorded hits on the night. Senior Mackenzie Handel led the way for SFA, going 3-for-5 with four RBIs while fellow senior Ricardo Sanchez also posted a 3-for-5 showing with two runs scored.
As it did the day before against Texas Tech, SFA had the bats active in the first inning as four of the first five ‘Jacks scored a run against the Skyhawks (1-8). After back-to-back singles by Matthew Dickey and Sanchez, Handel singled to drive Dickey in for his first RBI of the evening.
Sanchez would then score on an errant pick-off attempt by UT-Martin starter Taylor Cox, setting up Zach Marberry’s RBI double to make the score 3-0. The Skyhawks then loaded the bases before walking Will Vest, bringing Marberry home to give the ‘Jacks the 4-0 cushion after one inning.
UT-Martin answered with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth, courtesy of a pair of Lumberjack errors, to trim the deficit to 4-2. But SFA responded in the bottom of the fourth as Dickey, Sanchez and Joseph Olson all got on base to start the inning, setting the table for Handel. The senior rocketed a bases-clearing double to left, pushing SFA’s lead to 7-2 as the ‘Jacks took control of the game.
The Skyhawks would cut into the lead again in the fifth to pull to within three at 7-4. But SFA added to its lead as Nick Ramos reached base on a walk in the seventh, then proceeded to steal second, advance to third on an error before finally scoring on a wild pitch.
The ‘Jacks added an insurance run in the eighth as Olson blasted a solo shot over the left field wall for his first home run of the season, giving SFA its final margin of victory.
Nacogdoches native Josh Keith earned the victory, despite pitching just 0.2 innings, as starter Cameron Gann went 3.2 innings, giving up two runs on two hits with five strikeouts. Senior Kevin Bishop had a solid outing for the ‘Jacks, pitching the final 4.2 innings and allowing no runs on three hits with six strikeouts.
Due to the threat of inclement weather in the area Sunday, the final two games of the series between SFA and UT-Martin has been altered. The teams will play a doubleheader Saturday, beginning with the regularly scheduled second game at 2 p.m. with SFA expected to send senior Kyle Cross to the mound.
The ‘Jacks and Skyhawks will then play a seven-inning game immediately following Saturday evening, getting underway at approximately 5:30 p.m. as junior Dillon Mangham is expected to get the start for the ‘Jacks.