April 1, 2011
SAN MARCOS, Texas - Two four-run innings and a nine-strikeout performance by Carson Smith was enough fuel for the Texas State Bobcats to take a 10-3 win over Stephen F. Austin in the opener of a three-game series at Bobcat Field between two teams knotted atop the Southland Conference to begin the weekend.
The Lumberjacks (19-8, 8-2 SLC) got three hits and a pair of RBI from Jarid Scarafiotti, but could only muster five other hits off of the Bobcat (18-7, 9-1 SLC) combination of Smith and reliever Fielding Pittman. In all SFA left a dozen runners on base on the night, including eight in the first three innings, as SFA was unable to take advantage of a season-high five walks from the reigning SLC Pitcher of the Year.
Smith ended up allowing just two unearned runs on the night in seven innings in running his record to 4-1 and giving the Bobcats a one-game edge on the `Jacks in the SLC standings. Tyler Herriage saw his record fall to 1-3 on the year, allowing nine hits and six runs in just 4.1 innings, including four runs in the bottom of the fifth when the Bobcats broke the game open.
The `Jacks did take an early 1-0 lead on Smith when Scarafiotti bounded a single through the left side of the infield to score Bryson Myles in the first inning, but despite 34 pitches and a pair of walks from Smith, the `Jacks were unable to get any more than that and left the bases juiced.
An SFA error in the bottom of the inning allowed the Bobcats to knot it up, which is how things stood until two outs in the third, when Casey Kalenkosky launched a 3-1 pitch over the left field fence to give the `Cats a 2-1 lead. That homer was the first homer allowed by the SFA pitching staff since March 4, a span of 17 games and 155 innings.
From there, Smith settled down and struck out six of seven hitters he faced from the fourth to the sixth inning; meanwhile, his offense gave him plenty of cushion in the bottom of the fifth with a four-spot on the board. The `Cats batted around in the inning, sending nine men to the plate and got RBI hits from Jeff McVaney and Isaac Nuti while a pair of Lumberjack errors allowed two more runs to cross.
Scarafiotti narrowed the lead to 6-2 with another RBI single in the top of the seventh against the right-hander, and after a single from Jackson Hood and a wild pitch, SFA found itself with an opportunity to get back into the game with two away. But Smith managed to get Riley Huble out on strikes for the final out of his night.
Texas State added four more insurance runs in the eighth when they sent eight more hitters to the plate against a pair of SFA pitchers. That was plenty of room for Pittman to maneuver through the ninth, loading the bases before getting an RBI ground out from Hood and a one-hopper to third from Huble to end it.
SFA and Texas State tangle again on Saturday in the second game of the series with lefty Lee Colon scheduled to start for the Bobcats against Jared West for the Lumberjacks. First pitch is set for 2:00 p.m.