FORT WORTH, Texas - For the second straight week the Lumberjacks took a one-run lead over a nationally-ranked team into the late innings, but this time the SFA bullpen finished the job as the Lumberjacks led wire to wire and pulled off a 4-3 upset of No. 11 TCU on Wednesday at Lupton Stadium.
The `Jacks (19-7) put up four runs in the second and third innings and that was all they needed as seven pitchers combined to shut down the Frogs (15-9), who fell to 0-7 this season in one-run ballgames.
It was the first win for SFA over a nationally-ranked opponent since knocking off Houston in Nacogdoches in early in 2006 and the first win over the Frogs since the 1990 season.
Four Lumberjacks finished with multiple hits as each team finished with 11 hits apiece and combined to strand 21 runners on base. The SFA defense also proved to be huge, turning a season-high four double plays on the night after TCU managed to put the leadoff man on in eight of nine innings.
Fabian Arcizo earned his first win of the season with 1.2 innings of scoreless relief of starter Cody Priest, while Jason West pitched around a leadoff double in the ninth inning to strike out a pair and leave the tying run on third base.
Erik Miller allowed three runs for TCU in 2.0 innings of work in his first start of the season to drop to 0-5 on the year.
Each of the first five Lumberjack hitters reached in a three-run second inning that put SFA out in front. Michael Haynes plated the first run of the night with the first of his two hits on the night, a bases-loaded single to left field that scored Riley Huble. Bryson Myles and Garrett Smith then each got runs home in each of the next two at-bats, which was enough to chase the Frog starter, Miller, after just two frames.
Priest was aided by double plays in each of the first two innings and the SFA offense helped him out with another run in the third when Jarid Scarafiotti scored from second on a throwing error by TCU shortstop Taylor Featherston on a grounder from Hunter Dozier, putting the `Jacks up 4-0.
But the Frogs responded with an attack of their own in the bottom half of the inning, getting an RBI single from Aaron Schultz with one out. A walk to Featherston one batter later loaded the bases and brought in Arcizo from the pen, who got Jason Coats to fly out to center field for a sacrifice fly, then two batters later fanned Jerome Pena with the bases juiced to keep SFA out in front 4-2.
After Arcizo tossed a scoreless fifth, the Frogs cut the lead to a single run in the bottom of the inning when Pena picked up an RBI on a ground out that scored Featherston from third who had been hit by Landon Kozeny on the very first pitch of the inning. Still, Kozeny managed to fan Zac Jordan on three pitches with a man on base to end the inning.
That was all the Frogs would be able to muster on the night as the SFA bullpen put up zeros in each of the last four innings. Huble was huge behind the plate in maintaining the lead for the `Jacks, throwing out a pair of runners in both the seventh and eighth inning to help out his pitching staff.
In the ninth it was West who slammed the door for his fourth save of the year. But a leadoff double from Schultz made the road bumpier than intended, but West struck out Featherston and followed that with a foul out of Coats before getting Jantzen Witte swinging at a slider to end the game.
SFA will look to continue its wave of momentum from a 15-win month of March into San Marcos this weekend when the first-place Lumberjacks take on two-time defending Southland champion Texas State, who is tied with SFA at 8-1 atop the league. The three-game series begins Friday with Carson Smith set to go for Texas State against Tyler Herriage for the `Jacks.