Zach Benson had the tying home run in the eighth inning in SFA's win over Texas State.
May 25, 2012
SAN MARCOS, Texas - Bobby Loveless hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth to cap a crazy game and give Stephen F. Austin a 9-7 win over Texas State in the Southland Conference Tournament on Friday at Bobcat Ballpark to stay alive for a second game on Friday night.
SFA (25-32) will now take on Southeastern Louisiana at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, needing to win to keep its season alive. A win would force a second game against the Lions on Saturday, while Southeastern needs just one victory over SFA to advance to the SLC Tournament championship game.
The win was the first-ever win for SFA over Texas State (32-24) in SLC Tournament, snapping a five-game streak in postseason including Wednesday's 11-1 loss in the first round.
The `Jacks scored all nine of their runs in the their final four at-bats, erasing a 3-0 lead with three straight two-run innings before using homers from Loveless and Zach Benson in the bottom of the eighth to make up for a four-run Texas State top of the eighth that put the `Jacks down 7-6 on a grand slam from Jeff McVaney.
Loveless' homer was his third of the tournament and extended his hitting streak to 14 games, finishing 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI and two runs scored. He was part of a 13-hit SFA attack against Bobcat pitching, handing the loss to Louis Head, who allowed four runs in 1.2 innings of relief.
The comeback made a winner of Alex Moshier, who moved t 6-0 with three innings of work. He gave up a season-high four runs on McVaney's grand slam - the first home run he had allowed since April 19, 2009 - but rebounded to retire the final six Texas State batters of the game. He had entered in relief of starter Justin Choate to open the seventh inning after SFA had taken a 4-3 lead, with Choate delivering a solid outing, going six innings and allowing three runs on three hits, all in the first three innings of the game.
It took Choate some time to get out of the first inning, and not after the `Cats had built a 2-0 lead. Morgan Mickan started the push with a walk, and after a double by Jeff McVaney, scored from third on a sacrifice fly from Casey Kalenkosky. Two batters later Cody Gambill pushed home McVaney with an RBI single to right before Choate ended a 34-pitch frame with a strikeout of Nick Smelser.
McVaney made it 3-0 with his ninth homer of the year in the third, a solo shot over the left-center field wall. Choate then put up a pair of zeros on the board before the `Jacks were finally able to break through against Taylor Black in the bottom of the fifth. Ricardo Sanchez hit a double into the left-center field gap to start the inning and scored two batters later on a grounder from Rene' Moreda. Zach Benson then drew a two-out walk and scored all the way from first to cut the Texas State lead to 3-2 when Hunter Dozier rocketed a double into the right-center field gap.
Choate responded with a shutdown top of the sixth and the SFA offense rewarded him with two more runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a 4-3 lead. The `Jacks quickly loaded the bases with no outs and pushed across two runs on an RBI single from Sanchez to tie the game, then went ahead on a perfectly executed squeeze bunt by Rene' Moreda to score Jarid Scarafiotti, who finished with two hits himself.
Moshier tossed a scoreless top of the seventh before getting two more runs of support in the bottom of the inning on RBI from Scarafiotti and Bryce Cummings. But Texas State wasted no time putting Moshier in a jam in the eighth, using two singles and a walk to open the inning and load the bases for McVaney, who cranked a 1-0 pitch over the left-field fence for a grand slam that put the `Cats back in front 7-6.
But Benson followed by socking the first pitch from Head in the bottom of the eighth out to left field for his first homer of the season to tie things back up at 7-7. Dozier followed with a single to set things up for Loveless, who had to face Bobcat closer Dylan Adamek out of the bullpen. Loveless ran the count to 2-0 and then drove the next pitch to the center field side of the scoreboard in right to surge the `Jacks back out in front.
Moshier then did his job and sat the Bobcats down in order in the ninth to send SFA into the next round against Southeastern Louisiana. The `Jacks will throw Chase Greening at the Lions against a starter to be determined.