Late SFA Rally Comes Up Short
May 2, 2014
HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Trailing by three runs heading to the seventh, Stephen F. Austin mounted a late rally against rival Sam Houston State. But the Lumberjacks came up one run short, stranding the tying run on second in the top of the ninth in a 5-4 loss to the Bearkats.
SFA falls to 17-28 on the season and 8-14 in Southland Conference play, falling back to 11th in the SLC standings among postseason eligible teams. SHSU improves to 32-14 on the year and 14-8 in conference play as the Bearkats notched their sixth-straight win.
Conner Fikes led the way for the ‘Jacks, going 3-for-3 on the night with a run scored while Zach Marberry and Brett Thornell both went 2-for-4 as Marberry scored a run while Thornell notched an RBI. Ricardo Sanchez had a pair of RBIs on the day, belting his first homerun of the season in the third for SFA.
Dillon Mangham went 4.2 innings for the ‘Jacks, allowing four runs (three earned) with six hits and a pair of strikeouts but was credited with the loss. Kyle Cross allowed just one run on three hits with a pair of strikeouts in 2.1 innings pitched with Patrick Ledet allowing just one hit with one strikeout in his inning of work.
Sam Houston struck first in the bottom of the second, manufacturing a run to make it 1-0 after two. SFA looked to even the score in the top of the third as Fikes tried to score off a single from Matthew Dickey but was thrown out at home. Sanchez, however, would make up for it one batter later, uncorking his first homerun of the season to give the ‘Jacks the 2-1 lead.
The Bearkats would reclaim the lead in the fourth, notching a pair of runs to go back on top 3-2. SFA did a good job of minimizing the damage, however, as SHSU ended the inning with the bases loaded off a foul out.
Sam Houston State extended its lead to 5-2 with runs in both the fifth and sixth before the ‘Jacks began their rally. After a Marberry double to start the seventh, Thornell singled to drive him in and cut the deficit to 5-3. In the eighth, Fikes got a leadoff single, then worked his way around the bases before scoring off a fielding error involving Mackenzie Handel to pull to within one at 5-4.
Thornell looked to keep the rally going in the ninth, reaching on a leadoff single before advancing to second off a sacrifice bunt by Nick Ramos. But back-to-back strikeouts ended the game with the tying run in scoring position as SFA drops its 13th decision out of the last 15 games.
The ‘Jacks will look to rebound Saturday afternoon in the second game of the three-game series, getting underway at 4 p.m.