Clutch Hitting Gives SFA 6-5 Win In Series Opener
March 18, 2011
NATCHITOCHES, La. - The Lumberjack baseball team ran its win streak to nine in a row in dramatic fashion on Friday, using a two-run triple from Jarid Scarafiotti in the top of the 12th inning to re-take the lead and then stranded the tying run on third in the bottom half of the inning to hold on to a 6-5 win over Northwestern State at Brown-Stroud Field.
SFA (14-5, 4-0 SLC) has now picked up wins in all three of its extra-inning affairs this season and earned its first win over the Demons (5-12, 1-3 SLC) in Natchitoches since 2007. The `Jacks also pushed through an outstanding performance from Northwestern starter Luke Irvine, who struck out nine in nine innings of work, throwing 136 pitches in taking the no-decision.
The `Jacks used six pitchers on the night, with reliever Brad Oates earning his first win of the year after throwing a scoreless 11th inning with a pair of strikeouts, while Colton Eubanks allowed one unearned run in the 12th and left the tying runner on third to get his second save of the season.
Dustin Northcott took the loss for the Demons after allowing the go-ahead runs on Scarafiotti's triple in the 12th.
Scarafiotti finished with a pair of hits on the day, as did Bryson Myles and Riley Huble, while junior Jackson Hood delivered a key three-run homer in the sixth off of Irvine. The `Jacks finished with 10 hits as a team, as did the Demons, who left 15 runners stranded on the night after having at least one runner on in 11 of the 12 innings.
Lumberjack starter Tyler Herriage was solid through five innings, keeping the Demons off the board until the fifth when Chris Hebert delivered two-out, three-run double down the left-field line that gave Northwestern a 3-0 lead. That cushion seemed like it might be enough for Irvine, who struck out seven of his nine batters in the first four innings while retiring each of the first 12 hitters he faced before Scarafiotti was able to break the string with a single to lead off the fifth. But it wasn't until the top of the sixth that SFA was able to string anything significant together.
Myles got it started with a one-out single up the middle and promptly stole second and came in to score on a single from Garrett Smith. Two batters later Scarafiotti drew a walk to put two runners on ahead of Hood, who ripped a 1-0 pitch over the left-field fence to all of a sudden put the `Jacks up 4-3.
SFA then went to the bullpen as Cory Ochs and Chase Wier combined to toss the next 3.1 innings and get the `Jacks into the ninth with a one-run lead. But Colin Bear delivered a one-out single in the ninth to start a Demon rally that would eventually send the game into extra frames. Jason West came in to relieve Wier and got Hebert to strike out with the tying runner on second, but after going 0-2 with two outs to Will Watson, the sophomore lefty smashed a single up the middle that knotted the game at four apiece.
Both teams had scoring opportunities in both the 10th and 11th, but it was the `Jacks that finally came through with the clutch hit. Myles started it with a double off of Northcott to lead off the 12th and after a sacrifice bunt by Smith and a walk to Max Lamantia, Scarafiotti hammered a 1-1 pitch off the wall and scampered around to third for his first career triple to put SFA up 6-4.
In the bottom of the inning, a hit batter and an error on Eubanks gave the Demons life as they had runners on second and third, down two with just one out and the top of the order due up. But Eubanks coaxed consecutive grounders of Dan Meyer and Drew Helenihi to close it out.
The `Jacks and Demons go back at it on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. with Jared West slated to go up against Demon lefty Jacob Williford.