SFA Clinches Postseason Berth
May 18, 2012
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Lumberjacks pounded out 14 hits and freshman Cameron Gann picked up his team-leading sixth win of the season as SFA rebounded from Thursday's loss to evene the series with Nicholls with a 7-2 win on Friday at Jaycees Field.
The win, along with losses by Northwestern State, Lamar and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, clinches a berth in next week's Southland Conference Tournament for SFA (22-31, 15-17 SLC) with just one game remaining in the regular season. A win on Saturday, plus a loss by Central Arkansas to league champion Sam Houston State would give the 'Jacks the No. 6 seed in the tournament.
Gann did his part, using 93 pitches to navigate through seven innings, holding the Colonels (26-27, 13-18 SLC) to just eight singles and allowing a pair of runs with two walks and two strikeouts, moving to 6-3 on the season.
But he was not the only standout on the afternoon as every Lumberjack in the starting lineup reached base, including six finishing with a pair of hits. Chris Hernandez led the offense with three RBI, while Jarid Scarafiotti and Bobby Lovelessended up with a pair of RBI apiece.
The majority of the damage came against losing pitcher Patrick Shreve, who fell to 4-7, after allowing five runs in 6.1 innings before reliever Jordon McCoy allowed two more in SFA's breakout five-run seventh inning.
The Colonels jumped out in front in the second inning, using consecutive singles from Blake Bergeron and Michael LeGrange to open the inning and set things up for Austin Flores who delivered a one-out sacrifice fly to put Nicholls ahead 1-0.
SFA responded two innings later in the fourth inning, putting up a pair of runs to go ahead 2-1. Zach Benson started the rally with a leadoff double off the left-field fence and two batters scored when Scarafiotti dumped a single into shallow center field. Then, after a walk to Max Lamantia, Hernandez put the `Jacks in front with a double down into the left-field corner.
Gann, meanwhile, did his best to navigate through trouble, picking off a pair of runners and coaxing a pair of double plays to put up five straight zeros on the board for the Colonels before the `Jacks broke the game open in the bottom of the seventh.
Three of the first four Lumberjacks of the inning singled to open the stretch half of the seventh, loading the bases and forcing the Colonels to lift Shreve in favor of right-hander Jordon McCoy; however, SFA won the challenge when Scarafiotti dropped down a successful squeeze bunt up the first-base line with the sacks juiced to push across Bryce Cummingswith an important insurance run. SFA proceeded to add four more runs in the inning, plating two more one batter later on a double by Loveless before Hernandez socked a 2-0 pitch to right field for a two-run single, ballooning the SFA lead to 7-2.
The Colonels then tried to mount a quick comeback, chasing Gann from the mound in the eighth after loading the bases on two singles and a walk to start the inning. But the `Jacks turned to Cory Ochs, who allowed just an RBI single to Michael Richard before getting Jeremy Hill to hit a soft tapper back to the mound to start a double play that quickly killed the rally.
Ochs then allowed a bunt single in the top of the ninth before retiring the next three hitters, including a pair of strikeouts to shut the door on the game.
SFA will try and secure a berth in the SLC Tournament tomorrow on Senior Day for SFA's 11-member senior class when Justin Choategets the ball for tomorrow's 1:00 p.m. start in the regular-season finale.