Matt Whatley hit his fifth home run of the year and threw out three base runners trying to steal on Saturday.
April 12, 2008
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Lumberjacks came back from a five-run deficit to tie things up in the fifth inning on Saturday, but the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders pushed three runs across in the seventh and eighth innings to squeak past SFA 9-7 for the second consecutive game at Jaycees Field.
SFA (14-19, 3-10) has now lost three straight to the Islanders (12-23, 7-7) including a non-conference loss in the season-opening tournament of the year at the Al Ogletree Classic in Edinburg. Lumberjack pitchers surrendered a season-high 12 walks to TAMUCC, totaling 21 through two games in this series.
Erich Lehmann was saddled with his fourth loss of the year, despite only allowing three runs - two earned - in 5 1/3 innings with five strikeouts. Jeremy Tamez had his shortest outing of the year for SFA, allowing four runs in only one inning of work in his second start of the year.
Matt Hudec picked up his second win of the year for TAMUCC, while Brett Nelson earned his second save.
Things started off well for the Islanders as starting pitcher Trey Hernandez gave himself a lead before he ever took the mound by blasting his eighth home run of the year, a three-run shot, to left field in the first inning to give TAMUCC a 3-0 lead and himself eight RBI in the first two games of the series. Things could have gotten worse for the `Jacks, but Matt Whatley threw out consecutive runners attempting to steal second for the final outs of the inning.
TAMUCC added two more runs in the second when Martin Parra homered to left-center on the first pitch from Tamez and a Brycen Bell single that scored Chase Williams. Williams finished the day going 3-for-3 with three walks, reaching base all six times he came up and has now reached base each of the 11 times he has come to the plate in the series.
SFA got a pair of those runs back in the bottom of the second when Matt Whatley hit his fifth home run of the year to right field, scoring Justin Roland who had reached on a walk. Jeff Brewer came up three batters later and hit a full-count pitch out to left-center for his third homer of the season and cut the deficit to two at 5-3.
After the Islanders scored another in the fourth, SFA knotted the score in the bottom of the fifth as Zach Gardner led off with a walk and Kai Kirby singled one batter later to put runners on first and second with nobody out. After a groundout by Kevin Crabtree, Sean Meyers went to the opposite field for his second double of the game and scored both Gardner and Kirby. Hernandez was then lifted from the game in favor of Matt Hudec who promptly sandwiched walking Roland and hitting Whatley with a pitch around a strikeout of Noel Trevino to load the bases with two outs. Then, with Brian Ferguson at the plate, Hudec made it 6-6 by balking in Meyers from third.
Lehmann responded by getting the Islanders down in order in the sixth, but then ran into trouble in the seventh when Stephen Flora led off with a double. After pitching around Hernandez and putting him on first with a walk, Chase Wheaton bunted the runners up and Bryan Gerondale put TAMUCC back on top with a sacrifice fly off of Richard Folmer; however, after getting his first three batters, Folmer then lost command and walked three of his next four batters to load the bases and bring a run home with one out in the eighth. Heath Konesheck came in to finish off the inning, but not before walking in another run to make it 9-6 going to the bottom of the eighth.
The `Jacks last real threat came in that half of the inning as Whatley led off by being hit by a pitch for the second time and Ferguson drew a walk, but new Islander pitcher Brian Anderson got Jeff Brewer to ground into a double play and then struck out Gardner to end the rally.
The `Jacks and Islanders close out the series on Sunday with a 1:00 p.m. start from Jaycees Field. The game can be heard live on KSFA 860 AM.