March 12, 2010
CONWAY, Ark. - The SFA pitching staff allowed just three UCA hits on the day and the offense finally got to Michael Wild late in the game for a pair of runs that proved to be just enough to give SFA a 2-0 win at Bear Stadium in the Southland Conference opener for both teams.
Wild was outstanding for the Bears (4-9, 0-1 SLC), striking out a career-high 10 hitters without a walk and allowing eight hits - all singles - to the SFA (9-4, 1-0 SLC) offense. But he had a costly error in the seventh that led to the eventual deciding run.
Overall, the SFA pitching staff has only allowed five hits over the last two games which is the least amount of hits over a two-game span for the team since the program was reinstated.
Tyler Herriage was far from sharp for the `Jacks, but he battled enough to keep the Bears at bay and make it through six innings to go to 3-0 on the season. He struck out four and walked five and allowed just one infield single, actually no-hitting UCA through five innings.
But he had plenty of help in getting the win as Ryan Priest made a pair of highlight-reel catches in left field and Cory Ochs and Jason West carried the bullpen load to finish it off. West worked around a leadoff single in the ninth to earn his third save of the season.
The first of Priest's catches actually saved a run in the fourth as the Bears pushed Jake Fuller to second after a leadoff walk and a sacrifice bunt before Bobby Pritchett sent a line drive into the left-center field gap. But Priest sold out to get the catch and then got to his feet and fired to second to double off Fuller at second.
The `Jacks managed to get on base against Wild, actually stranding five baserunners through six innings, but could not crack the scoreboard until they got some help from him in the top of the seventh. Bo Coffman led off with his third single of the night and moved to second after a failed pickoff try from Wild. He moved to third one batter later and Patrick Gratzke did just enough to get him home with a sacrifice fly to left field for a 1-0 SFA lead.
The `Jacks added an insurance run in the eighth as consecutive singles from Garrett Smith and Tanner Hines set up another sacrifice fly, this time from Darren Crabtree to stretch the lead to 2-0.
UCA then threatened in the ninth as Greg Noble led off with a sure single off of Ochs, prompting Johnny Cardenas to go get West from the bullpen. The sophomore then got three consecutive weak groundouts to close the game out.
SFA will try to take its third in a row overall on Saturday in the second game of the series with first pitch set for 4:00 p.m. Jared West will get the start for SFA while senior Bobby Pritchett is slated to get the ball for the Bears.