SFA Gets Walk-Off Win Over ORU
April 5, 2013
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Freddy Villalobos hit a walk-off sacrifice fly to score Rene Moreda after Oral Roberts had tied the game in the top half of the ninth on Friday, giving SFA a 6-5 win over the Golden Eagles in the series opener at Jaycees Field.
SFA (13-16, 4-3 SLC) managed six runs and 13 hits against an ORU (9-19, 4-3 SLC) pitching staff that was headlined by starter Alex Gonzalez, who entered the night leading the Southland in strikeouts and ERA. Gonzalez did not factor in the decision, but still struck out seven and allowed five runs on nine hits in six frames.
Brett Higginbotham moved to 2-2 on the year with the win, getting the final two outs of the ninth; however, Cory Maltz did much of the heavy lifting out of the bullpen, punching out four in 2.1 innings of relief, setting down the first seven Eagles he faced in relief of starter Chase Greening, who struck out seven in 6.0 innings.
Alec Smith took the loss, falling to 0-2 for ORU after allowing the go-ahead run to reach base in the ninth after two innings of work.
All nine of SFA's starters had at least one hit, including two-hit games from Moreda, Brett Thornell, Max Lamantia and Joseph Olson. Both Lamantia and Olson had a pair of RBI apiece. Junior shortstop Hunter Dozier finished 1-for-4 with a walk and a single, extending his hit streak to 15 games.
Tyler Boss led ORU with a 2-for-3 night, including a sacrifice fly and a solo home run.
After each pitchers put up zeros in the first two innings, ORU used consecutive hits from Kevin Cho and Nate Goro to set up an RBI ground out from Graham McIntyre that put the Golden Eagles up 1-0 in the top of the third. SFA had an answer in the bottom half of the inning, though, on a sacrifice fly from Brett Thornell that scored Zach Benson who had reached on a one-out single.
However, one inning later ORU scratched the scoreboard again when a single from Jose Trevino was followed by a double down the left-field line by Matt Brandy, setting up a sacrifice fly from Boss and a run-scoring squeeze bunt from Cho to put the Golden Eagles up 3-1.
Once again SFA answered with a run on an RBI ground out from Lamantia to cut the lead to 3-2, and Greening responded by setting down ORU in order in the fifth. Gonzalez, though, was just as good in the bottom half and got an insurance run on a Boss solo home run with two outs off of Greening to push the lead to 4-2.
SFA then put together its strongest offensive inning of the night, scoring three runs with two outs to take a 5-4 lead. Villalobos started the rally by drawing a one-out walk and moving to second base on a balk. Two batters later Lamantia doubled him home with a bouncer down the third-base line, and then scored the tying run himself on an RBI single from Mackenzie Handel off the glove of ORU first baseman Chris Williams.
Pinch runner Matthew Dickey then set up the go-ahead run by swiping second base and scoring on Joseph Olson's second single of the night, a line shot up the middle on a full-count pitch from Gonzalez that put the `Jacks in front 5-4.
From there Maltz went to work, throwing perfect innings in both the seventh and eighth, and retiring the first hitter of the ninth before Boss delivered a one-out double into the right-center field gap which gave ORU life late in the game. The `Jacks then went to Higginbotham who retired the first batter he faced before Cho extended the game with an RBI single back up the middle to tie the game at 5-5, just one out away from an SFA win.
But it did not take long for SFA to put the pressure on ORU in the bottom of the inning as Moreda singled to right-center to start the rally, before a wild pitch and a bunt single by Thornell put runners on the corners with nobody out for Dozier. ORU opted to go to the pen, bringing in Nathan Garza and immediately intentionally walking Dozier to load the bases with none out to go after Villalobos. The senior second baseman then shot a line-drive on a 1-1 pitch to center field and Moreda slide under the tag at home plate for the winning run.
SFA will try and clinch the series on Saturday when it takes on ORU in the second game of the series at 2:00 p.m. Right-hander Kyle Cross is slated to get the ball for SFA, opposite ORU righty Drew Bowen.