April 13, 2008
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Kevin Croft had four hits and the Lumberjacks took the lead with a 10-run fourth inning, but could not withstand the offensive wave from the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders on Sunday as the Islanders finished off a series sweep of the `Jacks with a 19-16 win.
The teams combined for 35 runs, the highest combined scoring game the `Jacks have been involved in since they combined with Centenary for 37 runs in 1992. The 19 runs is the most the `Jacks (14-20, 3-11) have allowed all season, as is the five home runs that TAMUCC (13-23, 8-7) hit, taking advantage of a stiff wind blowing out to left field at Jaycees Field the entire afternoon. SFA also took advantage of that breeze, mashing four home runs of their own.
Matt Whatley and Kevin Croft each had four RBI for SFA, but the combination of Chase Wheaton, Bryan Gerondale and Martin Parra combined for four home runs and 15 RBI for the Islanders.
Erik Gregersen got the start for SFA, but allowed eight runs in only an inning of work before giving way to Kevin Thomas who also surrendered eight runs in his 4 2/3-inning stint and collected his fourth loss of the season. Brian Anderson was one of seven Islander pitchers used by head coach Scott Malone and picked up his second win of the year. Brett Gibson earned his second consecutive save with 1 1/3 innings of work, including consecutive strikeouts of Brian Ferguson and Zach Gardner with two runners on in the ninth.
The Islanders got six runs off of Gregersen to open the game in the first inning after Wheaton and Gerondale hit back-to-back doubles to drive in four runs. Parra then followed Gerondale with his first home run of the day to left-center field.
SFA got one of those back in the bottom of the first when Kevin Crabtree smacked his fifth homer of the year to left field, but Gregersen left the game after walking the first two batters of the second. Each of those runners came around to score after Thomas entered the game, but the `Jacks answered with runs in both the bottom of the second and third innings to pull to 9-3. TAMUCC used a two-run homer from Wheaton to push the lead to 11-3 before the `Jacks came to the plate in their half of the fourth.
Trent Blanchard led off the inning with a single to left and just one pitch later Kai Kirby went deep for the second time this season to get the `Jacks back on the scoreboard. Sean Meyers then followed back-to-back singles by Jeff Brewer and Crabtree with a walk to load the bases before Croft picked up his second and third RBIs of the day with a single to right field. Justin Roland then scored Meyers to make the score 11-8 on a single deep in the hole a shortstop, and Matt Whatley was there to tie the game with his sixth home run of the year one batter later.
Then, with the score tied at 11, Brian Ferguson quickly untied it by launching his first career home run into the jet stream out to left field, giving SFA their second set of back-to-back home runs this season. Brewer added a sacrifice fly that scored Blanchard later in the inning as well, capping the 10-run explosion that gave the `Jacks a 13-11 lead.
However, the Islanders scored seven unanswered runs after that inning, beginning with an RBI single from Chase Williams in the fifth. Parra and Williams each added two-run homers off of Thomas one inning later to give them a 16-13 lead after six. The seventh inning saw them score three more runs, all with two outs, as Gerondale drove in two of his six RBI with a two-run homer on a full count, then Ernie Olivarez capped the Islander scoring with an RBI double that scored Parra.
SFA added three runs in their half of the seventh, using a single by Croft to start things. Whatley got his fourth RBI of the day with a bases-loaded walk, but the `Jacks final run of the day was a costly one as Ferguson grounded into a double play with the bases loaded to get two key outs for the Islanders. Blanchard struck out looking one batter later and the `Jacks couldn't mount another serious threat after that.