April 26, 2009
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Zach Gardner scored the winning run on a wild pitch in the 10th inning on Sunday as SFA knocked off UTA, 4-3, in the series finale to complete a three-game sweep of the Mavs.
SFA (19-23, 10-13 SLC) had never before swept UTA (23-20, 14-10 SLC) in a three-game series, but now have taken eight of the last 10 meetings between the two teams dating back to 2007. The win, along with other results around the league, leaves the `Jacks as the No. 8 seed in the SLC Tournament if it were to start today. They are 2.5 games clear of the next-closest team, and are just a half-game back of Northwestern State for the No. 7 seed.
Richard Folmer got the win, his first of the year, with 2.0 innings of scoreless relief. He finished up the week with three saves to go along with the win in four appearances. It looked as though Brett Rogers was going to be in line for the win as the freshman left after 7.0 innings with a 3-1 lead. He walked three and struck out four, but only allowed five hits to the 30 batters he faced.
Brian Watson took the loss for the Mavs after allowing Gardner to get on with a single with one out in the 10th before Matt Otteman uncorked a pair of wild pitches that sent Gardner home with the winning run. But the Mavs did get another quality start from their starting pitcher as Jason Mitchell went 8.2 innings and allowed just three runs on nine hits.
It was the first win of the season in seven tries in extra innings for SFA, despite only getting one hit in the final frame. Gardner's single came with one out, and he stole second two batters later with two outs and Sean Meyers at the plate. The Mavs then elected to intentionally walk Meyers despite already having run the count to 3-2 to get to Brian Fergsuson. Otteman then uncorked his first wild pitch to advance both runners to second and third, and two pitches later catcher Chad Price could not handle another one and Gardner was able to slide head first across the dish for the winning run.
However, it looked as though the `Jacks would be able to take care of business in regulation after Ryan Priest had delivered a two-run single off the third-base bag in the sixth that scored both Ferguson and Meyers for a 3-1 lead. Priest finished the day 3-for-4 with the two RBI.
Rogers then sat down the Mavs in the seventh in order, but UTA was able to get a pair of unearned runs to tie it, 3-3, in the eighth off of Chris Court. A leadoff single from Otteman was followed by an error on Jeffrey Kello off the bat of Andrew Kainer that looked as though it would put runners at the corners and nobody out with SFA up 3-1 at the time; however, Bo Coffman fired the ball to Ferguson at third base and Otteman was tagged out for the first out when he overslid the bag. Chad Comer then worked a walk to put the tying run on base, and each moved up a bag on a balk from Court. An RBI-single from Jeff Storms trimmed the lead to one, and an infield hit by Justin McPherson tied it up just one batter later.
Folmer then entered in the ninth, and allowed just one hit with no walks and a pair of strikeouts to give the `Jacks a chance. The most important of those outs came when he struck out Otteman on three pitches in the ninth with the go-ahead run on second base.
The only other run for the `Jacks came in the third after a leadoff single from Jarid Scarafiotti was followed by a double from Bo Coffman. Adam Bosley then sent a sacrifice to left field to give the `Jacks a 1-0 lead. The Mavs got the run back one inning later, though, when Kainer scored from third with two outs when McPherson reached on an error at second base on Priest.
SFA is scheduled to play a non-conference game on Monday at home against Dallas Baptist, beginning at 3:00 p.m. Erik Gregersen is scheduled to get the start for the `Jacks.