May 1, 2009
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Sam Houston third baseman Ryan Mooney had to think that he had put the Bearkats on top with a two-run homer off of his bat in the top of the seventh, but SFA left fielder Ryan Priest took it away with a highlight-reel catch that proved to be the play of the game in SFA's 3-2, series-opening win over Sam Houston on Friday.
That catch came after the `Kats (28-18, 14-11 SLC) had finally gotten to SFA (20-24, 11-13 SLC) starter Erich Lehmann, who pitched 6.1 no-hit innings to open the game against one of the league's top offenses. It took him only 73 pitches to get 7.0 innings under his belt, striking out four and walking only one in winning his fifth consecutive league start to run his record to 6-3 on the year. Each of his wins this season have come in SLC play.
Chris Court and Richard Folmer continued to show why the `Jacks may have the best back end bullpen in the league by holding the `Kats scoreless in both the eighth and the ninth, including Folmer picking up his 10th save of the season.
Bearkat freshman Sean Weatherford took the hard-luck loss for Sam Houston, falling to 5-5, but pitched the full 8.0 innings with five strikeouts and not a single walk.
SFA was able to give Lehmann an early lead with single runs in both the first and the second. Zach Gardner reached base in the first when Weatherfrord hit him on a 2-1 pitch. After Tanner Hines moved him to third with the first of his two singles on the day, Sean Meyers drove him in with a sacrifice fly to left field.
The `Jacks then got some help scoring in the second, using a passed ball and a throwing error to get ahead 2-0. Bo Coffman had struck out swinging with one out, but the third strike got through the legs of Bearkat catcher Mark Wyatt and allowed Coffman to reach. A single from Jarid Scarafiotti put runners at first and second, but Coffman was thrown out trying to steal second for the second out. Justin Long then singled to center field to put SFA back in scoring position with runners at the corners. Long then took a chance by taking off for second and Wyatt threw to the bag, however, nobody was covering for the `Kats and the ball scooted into center field and allowed Scarafiotti to score.
Meanwhile, Lehmann was cruising and faced the minimum 18 hitters in the Sam Houston lineup through six innings. Only two `Kats managed to reach base in those six innings: one via error that was erased on a double play, and the other by way of a walk in the sixth that was erased with Adam DeLaGarza was thrown out stealing to end the third.
After Coffman had extended SFA's lead to 3-0 with an RBI-double in the bottom of the sixth, Braeden Riley put an end to Lehmann's no-hit bid with a sure single to center field. Two batters later on Reed dribbled a two-out single though the right side of the SFA infield to set up Tyler Knight, who shot a double off the right-field fence to drive in both runs and bring Sam Houston to within a run. That was when Priest's heroics entered into play as Mooney then followed Knight with a ball that had enough juice to get out of play and put Sam Houston up, but the junior left fielder was able to get just high enough and timed his jump perfectly keep the `Jacks in front.
Weatherford gave Sam Houston a chance to come back with two perfect innings in the seventh and eighth, but Court and Folmer were solid for SFA out of the bullpen. Court went 1-2-3 in the eighth inning, and Folmer only allowed a two-out infield hit to Nick Zaleski in the ninth. The game ended on another defensive gem as Reed grounded one up the middle that Hines had to range to his left to retrieve, then flipped back towards second base where Brian Ferguson had to reach and barehand the ball while Zaleski slid on behind the throw.
Jared West will get the start for the `Jacks in the second game of the series on Saturday, however officials have changed Saturday's original single game to a doubleheader beginning at noon due to impending rain on Sunday. Brett Rogers will get the ball in the second game that will begin approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of Game 1.