SFA Comeback Completes Sweep Of ORU
April 7, 2013
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth, propelling the Lumberjacks to a 5-3 win and completing a series sweep of Oral Roberts on Sunday at Jaycees Field.
SFA (15-16, 6-3 SLC) trailed ORU (9-21, 4-5 SLC) 3-2 after seven innings, but Rene' Moreda scored on a wild pitch to tie the game before Max Lamantia delivered a run-scoring single that put the `Jacks up 5-3. Reliever Brett Higginbotham then got a strikeout and a double play to finish the job in the ninth, earning his second save of the year.
It was the first three-game sweep in league play in program history for ORU, a team who is in its first season as a member of the Southland and won each of its last 15 conference titles in the Summit and Mid-Continent Conferences.
Freddy Villalobos led an eight-hit offensive attack with a 3-for-4 day that included his fifth home run of the season and a pair of runs scored. Hunter Dozier scored the go-ahead run on Lamatnia's eighth-inning single after reaching on an intentional walk, but saw his 16-game hit streak come to an end after an 0-for-3 afternoon.
Cass Ingvardsen struck out two in an inning of work for to move his record to 1-1 with the win, while Higginbotham's save included getting all three outs in the ninth after a leadoff walk from Ingvardsen.
Brad Fisher fell to 1-3 for ORU with the loss in relief of starter Tim Zufall, who put together the third straight solid start of the weekend for the Golden Eagles, allowing two runs on two hits in 6.1 innings.
SFA got on the board early on when Villalobos launched his fifth home run of the year, a solo shot over the left-center field wall to lead off the bottom of the second and put the `Jacks ahead 1-0. But ORU quickly answered with a two-out rally in the top of the third, getting singles from Kevin Cho and Chris Williams before Matt Brandy dumped a single into shallow right-center to knot it up at 1-1.
Zufall then put up a pair of zeros before the `Jacks scratched the scoreboard again in the bottom of the fifth when SFA put together a two-out rally of its own that included three straight singles from Joseph Olson, Moreda and Thornell. Thornell's single to shallow center field plated Olson from second and gave SFA a 2-1 lead.
SFA starter Justin Choate and reliever Cory Maltz then worked out of a jam in the top of the sixth, but were not so fortunate in the top half of the seventh. Infield hits from Graham McIntyre and Austen Colt put runners on the corners for ORU to start the inning, and a RBI single from Kevin Cho squared the score at 2-2. Two batters later Logan Domenico put the Golden Eagles in front 3-2 with a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Colt.
The `Jacks then went down in order in the seventh, but quickly found life in the bottom of the eighth when Moreda reached base after reliever Guillermo Trujillio plunked him with a pitch. A wild pitch and an intentional walk to Dozier moved him up a base before Villalobos dumped a single into center field to load the sacks. Then, with Ricardo Sanchez at the plate, Fisher uncorked a wild pitch and Moreda scampered home to score the tying run.
Two batters later, Lamantia delivered the game-winning RBI for the second straight game, poking a single back up the middle to drive in Dozier. An ORU throwing error - the first miscue by either team in the series - on the play, also allowed Villalobos to score, giving SFA a 5-3 lead going into the ninth.
Things got a little dicey early in the final inning when McIntyre drew a four-pitch walk to open the inning; however, the `Jacks then turned to Higginbotham for the third straight game and the reliever responded by promptly striking out Austen Colt and then getting a 3-6-1 double-play ball from Cho to slam the door shut.
SFA will have its hands full with four games on the slate this week, beginning Wednesday at TCU. The `Jacks will then travel to Lake Charles, La., for a three-game set at McNeese State beginning Friday at Cowboy Diamond.