'Jacks Open SLC Play With 5-1 Victory
March 14, 2014
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin raced out to an early 4-0 lead on McNeese State, then junior pitcher Cameron Gann guided the Lumberjacks to the finish as SFA topples McNeese 5-1 in its Southland Conference opener.
The `Jacks improve to 8-7 on the year and 1-0 in SLC play while the Cowboys fall to 10-6 on the year and 0-1 in conference action. The win was the fourth-straight for SFA at Jaycees Field, improving to 4-1 at home on the season.
Gann picked up the complete game victory, allowing just one run on five hits with seven strikeouts on the night, throwing 133 pitches (87 strikes), improving to 3-0 on the season.
Matthew Dickey led the way offensively for the `Jacks, going 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Brett Thornell went 2-for-3 with a run scored as well as Joseph Olson, Zach Marberry and Conner Fikes all drove in runs for SFA.
The `Jacks jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first as Dickey led off the game with a single, then advanced to third on a single by Ricardo Sanchez. Olson would hit into a double play, but it was enough to score Dickey, giving SFA the early edge.
In the second, SFA's bats came alive as Thornell led off the inning with a single, then scored off a Mayberry double to make it 2-0 `Jacks. Dickey then drove in Mayberry off a single, followed by Olson driving in Gevon Jackson two batters later to make it 4-0 SFA after two innings played.
Gann would retire 10-straight Cowboys, keeping McNeese off the scoreboard until the bottom of the seventh when MSU notched a run off a sacrifice fly to left. But SFA would answer in the bottom of the eighth as pinch-hitter Fikes notched a bases loaded single to give the `Jacks the 5-1 margin of victory.
McNeese mounted one final rally in the top of the ninth, getting a pair of runners on before SFA ended it with an unassisted put-out by Marberry at first to clinch the victory.
Due to the threat of inclement weather moving through the area Saturday, the second game of the three-game series has been moved up to a 12 p.m. start at Jaycees Field. No live video or live stats will be available, but fans can receive in-game updates by following @SFA_Baseball on Twitter.