Late Rally Not Enough As SFA Falls, 10-7
March 16, 2014
NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Stephen F. Austin mounted a late rally in the bottom of the ninth, but it was a case of too little too late as the Lumberjacks drop a 10-7 decision to McNeese State in the final game of the three-game series.
The Cowboys took the Southland Conference-opening series 2-1, winning the suspended 13-inning game 5-4 earlier in the day. SFA falls to 8-9 on the year and 1-2 in SLC play.
McNeese got on the board early, jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the first but stranded a pair. SFA struggled to get any offense going early in the game as the ‘Jacks recorded just one hit through the first four innings.
The Lumberjack bats finally came alive in the fifth, beginning with Zach Marberry notching a leadoff double. Brett Thornell then knocked Marberry home with back-to-back doubles, followed by an RBI single by Matthew Dickey. Dan O’Neill then drove home Gevon Jackson, giving SFA the 3-1 lead after five.
The advantage was short-lived, however, as McNeese answered with three runs in the top of the sixth to reclaim the lead 4-3. The Cowboys then broke the game open in the seventh, piling on five runs to take a commanding 9-3 lead.
After falling behind 10-3 in the ninth, SFA mounted a late rally that included a two RBI double from Conner Fikes and RBI singles from Will Vest and Levi Smith, pulling the ‘Jacks to within three at 10-7. But SFA couldn’t complete the comeback as the Cowboys improved to 12-6 on the year.
Fikes led the SFA offense, going 3-for-5 on the day with two RBI and a run scored. Eight other ‘Jacks notched hits on the day, including the first of the season for both Smith and Rick Cruz who came on to pinch hit in the latter stages of the game.
Starter Kevin Bishop pitched 5.1 innings for SFA, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits with five strikeouts on 81 pitches. Jarred Greene was credited with the loss, allowing five runs on three hits in an inning of work.
SFA now hits the road for a five-game swing, beginning with a two-game midweek series at Texas Tech this Tuesday and Wednesday. After the trip to Lubbock, the ‘Jacks head east to Natchitoches for a three-game series against rival Northwestern State March 21-23.