Lions Take Series Opener
May 14, 2010
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Southeastern Louisiana scored five runs in the final two innings to break away from a tightly-contested game on Friday, taking a 7-1 win over Stephen F. Austin in a crucial series for both teams in the race for the Southland Conference crown at Jaycees Field.
Tyler Watkins got the spot start for the Lions (37-14, 19-9 Southland) in place of normal Friday starter Brandon Efferson, and allowed just seven hits and one unearned run in tossing his first career complete game. It is the fifth complete game thrown by an opposing pitcher against the `Jacks (32-15, 18-9 Southland) in conference play this season.
The win vaults Southeastern ahead of SFA in the league standings as well, pushing the `Jacks 2.0 games out of the conference lead pending Texas State's result Friday evening at Nicholls.
Tyler Herriage struggled with his command, but battled and gave SFA a chance to win by allowing just two runs in 6.2 innings with his record falling to 7-3 on the season and having his scoreless-inning streak come to a halt at 23 frames. He threw a season-high 127 pitches for the second consecutive week in the effort, striking out five and walking five as well.
Michael Haynes and Tanner Hines led the offense with two hits apiece, but the `Jacks could only muster one extra-base hit out of their seven base knocks on the afternoon. The Lions got six of their eight hits in the final two frames, but were also the beneficiary of 13 free bases from seven walks, two hit batters and four wild pitches by SFA pitchers.
Herriage left Lions on base in both the second, third and fourth innings before Southeastern finally got on the board when Josh Cryer hit the second of his four hits on the day off of Haynes' glove at third for an RBI single in the fifth.
A one-out double from Garrett Smith helped get that run back in the SFA half of the fifth as first baseman Trey Martin dropped a throw at the bag that extended the inning and allowed Smith to score from third to tie the game at 1-1.
But that tie was short-lived as the Lions retook the lead, 2-1, in the sixth on a fielder's choice from Cass Hargis after the first two hitters of the inning had reached. Cory Ochs came on to relieve Herriage one inning later with two outs and two runners on, and after a wild pitch advanced the runners, struck out Brock Hebert looking to end the inning and keep SFA within a run.
The Lions added to that lead, however, in the eighth when Jeff Harkensee hit a one-out double down the first-base line that scored Martin, and after consecutive RBI hits from Cody Gougler and Cryer plated two more, the Lions had plenty of cushion for Watkins with a 5-1 lead.
Southeastern added two more in the ninth on a two-run single from Justin Boudreaux, and after Watkins put the first two runners on he was able to set the next three down in order to seal the win.
Brad Oates will make his first start of the season on Saturday opposite Southeastern's all-America closer-turned-starter Chris Franklin, who has won each of his last three starts in complete-game fashion. First pitch is set for 2:00 p.m.