Sam Houston Survives SFA Scare

Hunter Dozier extended his hit streak to 11 games with a 2-for-3 night on Thursday.

March 28, 2013

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NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Hunter Dozier blasted a pair of home runs, but Stephen F. Austin struggled to find another source of offense on Thursday night as the Sam Houston State Bearkats escaped with a 5-3 win in the series opener at Jaycees Field.

The `Jacks (11-14, 2-2 SLC) had chances in both the bottom of the eighth and ninth, but a pair of home run scares fell just short at the warning track off the bats of Freddy Villalobos and Max Lamantia, allowing the Bearkats (14-11, 3-1 SLC) to escape with it sixth win in its last seven meetings vs SFA.

SFA's closest threat came in the bottom of the ninth with two outs when a pinch-hit double from Brett Thornell put runners on second and third for Dozier, who the `Kats intentionally walked to load the bases. Sam Houston then turned to stopper Michael Burchett to face Lamantia and the junior first baseman put a solid swing on a 2-2Burchett delivery, but the fly ball died at the warning track in straightaway center field for the game's final out.

Lefty Cody Dickson moved his record to 4-2 for the `Kats, allowing three runs on four hits with nine strikeouts in seven innings of work before handing things over to the Bearkat bullpen. Burchett got the game's final out to record his second save of the year.

Chase Greening's record fell to 2-2 on the year as he allowed four runs on nine hits in just 4.1 innings, striking out six. Reliever Justin Choate threw well also, allowing just one run on three hits in 4.2 innings of relief with six punch outs.

Dozier led the SFA offense with a 2-for-3 night, reaching base in four of five plate appearances. He was walked twice and blasted a pair of homers, giving him four bombs in his last three games, and extended his hit streak to 11 games. Joseph Olson was the only other Lumberjack to register multiple hits, going 2-for-3, while the `Jacks finished with eight base knocks on the night.

Consecutive two-out hits from Carter Burgess and Anthony Azar got the Bearkats on the board in the first, going up 1-0 on Azar's RBI single before Greening finished the inning with his third strikeout.

One inning later Dozier had an answer, launching his sixth homer of the year on the second pitch he saw from Dickson far over the left-center field fence with Zach Benson on board to put the `Jacks up 2-1.

Sam Houston then put together threats in both the second and third innings before finally breaking through in the fifth when a pair of singles and a walk to Ryan O'Hearn loaded the bases for Kevin Miller, whose fielder's choice to shortstop pushed across the go-ahead run. Consecutive walks from reliever Justin Choate followed, with the second being to Romeo Cortina and pushing in another run.

SFA got a runner on an inning later, but Dickson got a big strikeout of Benson to end the inning and then got another run of insurance an inning later when Azar made it a 5-2 Bearkat lead with a an RBI double in the top of the sixth.

Dozier delivered another run in the bottom half of the inning, taking Dickson deep for the second time on the night with a mammoth solo shot on the first pitch of the inning to trim the lead to 5-3.

Choate kept the `Jacks within striking distance, fanning the side in the eighth to get SFA back to the plate in the bottom half of the inning where it got a pair of runners on base in front of Villalobos, who put a scare into Sam Houston reliever Miles Manning with a high fly ball that died on the warning track in front of the left-field wall.

SFA will take another shot at the defending SLC champions on Friday at 6:30 p.m. with righty Kyle Cross on the mound. Sam Houston will throw another lefty, Andrew Godail, in the middle game of the series.



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