Cardinals Cap Comeback With Walk-Off Home Run
April 26, 2013
BEAUMONT, Texas - Garrett Autrey hit a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 11th inning to complete a comeback by the Lamar as the Cardinals moved into a tie for first place in the Southland Conference with a 4-3 win over Stephen F. Austin on Friday at Vincent-Beck Stadium.
The `Jacks (23-19, 10-6 SLC) led 3-0 after three innings, but after picking up eight hits in the first two frames, had just five hits the remainder of the way. Lamar (31-11, 10-6 SLC) got a pair of runs back in the seventh and tied it in the ninth before Autrey's third home run in the 11th.
Cameron Gann took the loss, allowing the homer after just a third of an inning of work. He entered after Brett Higginbotham tossed 4.0 innings of relief, an appearance that included his first run allowed in conference play this season.
The run in the ninth nullified an otherwise standout night from starter Chase Greening, who shut the Cardinals out in the first 6.0 innings before a pair crossed after he was relieved in the bottom of the seventh.
Lefty Jonathan Dziedzic went 9.0 innigns for Lamar, striking out six and allowing 11 hits; however, just one of those hits went for extra bases and only three came after the second inning. Still, it was reliever Chase Angelle who moved to 2-2 on the year with the win, entering in the 11th and getting a double play ball and a fly out in an inning of work.
Autrey was the top bat on the night for Lamar, going 3-for-4 with the home run. The Cardinals were out-hit on the night 13-8, but were the beneficiaries of 10 runners left on base by the Lumberjacks.
The `Jacks scratched the scoreboard quickly when consecutive singles from Thornell and Dozier set up a scoring chance for the `Jacks in the top of the first, one they cashed in on with an RBI bloop single by Sanchez to shallow left-center field.
Greening responded by leaving a runner on third base in the top of the first, and was rewarded with another run in the top of the second on and RBI single from Moreda that scored Handel to put SFA up 2-0.
The Cardinals stranded two more runners in the bottom of the second, and SFA struck once again in the top of the third. Freddy Villalobos started the rally with a single up the middle to lead off the inning, and came in to score on a 2-out RBI double from Handel into the right-field corner.
From there, it became a pitcher's duel as Greening and Dziedzic matched zeros for the next three frames until the Cards finally broke through in the bottom of the seventh. LU loaded the bases with nobody out, prompting SFA to go to the pen for Higginbotham.
But it was a Higginbotham error on a comebacker from Zach Luevanos that allowed the first Cardinal run and kept the bases loaded. One pitch later, Sam Bumpers grounded into a double play that cut the lead to 3-2, but Higginbotham kept SFA in front by getting Jude Vidrine to fly out to center field with the tying runner on third base.
Dziedzic then kept SFA off the board in the next two frames as well, but a leadoff double from Seth Dornak to lead off the ninth quickly put the Cardinals in business. A sacrifice bunt from Autrey moved him up and pinch runner Joe Arechiga scored from third one batter later on a fly ball to right field from Aaron Olivas to knot the score at 3-3.
SFA went in order in the 10th before starting a threat in the top of the 11th when Handel reached on an error by V.J. Bunner; however, an attempt to bunt him into scoring position went awry and ended in a double play. Another Lamar error put Jackson Hood in scoring position one batter later, but Angelle got Matthew Dickey to fly out to end any threat. Then, two batters into the bottom of the inning, Autrey connected on his game-ending bomb.
The 'Jacks will try and square the series on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. behind right-hander Kyle Cross. Lamar will counter with senior righty Eric Harrington.