Justin Choate allowed just two runs in 6.2 innings in Sunday's win at Central Arkansas.
May 12, 2013
CONWAY, Ark. - The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks struck for five runs in the first seven innings and got another strong outing from senior Justin Choate, taking down Central Arkansas with a 5-3 win over the Bears in the series finale at Bear Stadium on Sunday.
Choate allowed just two runs in 6.2 innings of work for SFA (27-25, 14-10 SLC) and did not allow a hit until the fifth inning. He allowed just five hits and two runs on the day, striking out three to put together his fourth quality start in his last five outings. He moved to 4-2 on the year with the win, handing the ball over to Garrett Powell who allowed just one unearned run in 1.1 innings to set things up for Brett Higginbotham who retired all three hitters he faced in the ninth for his ninth save of the year.
The `Jacks out-hit the Bears (33-16, 12-12 SLC) 12-5 on the day, jumping on UCA starter Bryce Biggerstaff for eight hits and two runs. He allowed three runs - two earned - in 6.0 innings. Griffin Glaude allowed the other two runs on the day, both coming in the seventh.
Max Lamantia hit his fourth home run of the year for the `Jacks and was one of eight Lumberjacks to hit safely. Rene' Moreda had a pair of those hits and scored twice, while Ricardo Sanchez, Zach Benson and Freddy Villaobos all had a pair of singles as well.
The win has the `Jacks in a three-way tie for third place in the Southland with three games to be played in the league season before the Southland Conference Tournament in Sugar Land.
A solo home run from Lamantia with one out in the top of the third inning scored the first run for the `Jacks on the day. Two batters later Moreda blooped in a base hit to shallow center field and hustled it into a double with two outs, setting things up for Zach Benson to drive him in with his second single of the day and giving SFA a 2-0 lead.
SFA had a chance to blow the game open in the top of the fourth, loading the bases on a pair of singles and a hit batter with one out, but was only able to push across one unearned run thanks to a Bear error. Choate helped his own cause in the bottom half of the inning, making one of the top defensive plays when he came off the mound and dove into foul territory to catch a popped-up bunt on the fly and double off the leadoff runner at first base.
UCA got its first hit in the bottom of the fifth and finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth on a leadoff solo home run from Forrestt Allday; however, the SFA offense immediately responded with two more runs in the top of the seventh on RBI singles from Mackenzie Handel and Joseph Olson to give SFA a 5-1 advantage.
The Bears got a run back in the bottom of the seventh on an RBI single from Garrett Brown, and threatened to do more damage, putting a pair of runners on base for Allday; however, SFA turned to reliever Garrett Powell who got Allday to ground out harmlessly to second base to end the rally.
They added another run in the eighth of the unearned variety, taking advantage of a leadoff two-base error off the bat of Jonathan Davis and moving him around to score on a sacrifice fly from Blake Marchal in what would be the last scoring threat of the day for the Bears.
From there, Higginbotham took care of the rest, setting down UCA in order in the ninth on three ground balls for the save.
SFA will open up a three-game series with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Thursday at Jaycees Field. The `Jacks will honor its 10-member senior class before Saturday's finale.