Jared West struck out a career-high nine hitters in SFA's loss to TAMUCC.
May 27, 2011
SAN MARCOS, Texas - The Lumberjacks were just three outs away from advancing to its first ever Southland Conference Championship game with a 5-3 lead entering the ninth inning over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, but the Islanders sent 13 men to the plate and scored eight runs against three SFA relievers to shock the `Jacks and stay alive with an 11-5 win on Friday at Bobcat Ballpark.
SFA (36-22) will now have to play the Islanders (37-23) at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday in an elimination game with the winner advancing to the title game of the SLC Tournament with an NCAA regional berth on the line.
The Lumberjacks had allowed just 13 runs in the ninth inning all season before Friday as SFA had led nearly the entire game with closer Jason West entering to open the ninth inning, but West allowed a leadoff homer to pinch hitter Caleb Marx to open the inning and two batters later gave up an RBI double to Matt Holland that knotted it up. TAMUCC added six more runs from there, with four of the inning's eight runs coming off of West and another four off of reliever Brad Oates.
Before the ninth starter Jared West and reliever Colton Eubanks had combined to hold the Islanders to just three runs in eight innings, striking out 12 and walking just one in that span.
Jason West ended up seeing his record fall to 4-3 on the year, while Islander reliever Phillip Garcia earned the win with just two-thirds of an inning of scoreless relief to go to 3-1 on the year.
Darren Crabtree led SFA with a 2-for-4 day that included three RBI, while Jarid Scarafiotti stayed hot with a 2-for-4 day of his own that included an RBI. Scarafiotti is now 7-for12 in the tournament with five RBI in three games.
But the Islanders, who stayed alive in the tournament earlier Friday morning with a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the ninth versus UTSA, had seven of their 15 hits go for extra bases. Jeramie Marek finished with a 4-for-5 day for TAMUCC, but it was nine-hole hitter Jumpy Garcia who did the most damage with a 3-hit afternoon that included a double, homer and three RBI.
Jared West started off the game on fire, fanning a career-high nine hitters in his five innings of work, including a span of six in a row from the first through the third innings; however, he allowed 10 hits in that span as well, including three runs.
Still, he left with the lead after the `Jacks plated four of their five runs in the first five innings of the ballgame. An RBI single from Crabtree in the first inning scored Garrett Smith and a run-scoring single from Scarafiotti in the third added another to give the `Jacks a 2-0 lead after three frames.
But the Islanders responded with an RBI single from Chris Vergne in the top of the fourth, and used four hits to plate two more in the top of the fifth and take a 3-2 lead. The inning could have been bigger for TAMUCC as it loaded the bases with two outs, but West managed to strike out Weston Montgomery to keep it a one-run game at the time.
Immediately, SFA answered with two runs to retake the advantage. A single by Bryson Myles off of starter Adam Hoelscherand two Islanders errors set the table for Crabtree once again, who delivered with a two-run single off of reliever Chris Pena to put SFA back up 4-3.
Eubanks then entered in relief for SFA after a leadoff single by the Islanders in the sixth, and proceeded to set down each of the next nine hitters he faced through the eighth inning. SFA added what seemed to be an insurance run on an RBI single by Jordan Lewis in the eighth before things unraveled in the next half inning.
SFA will now wait to find out its Saturday start time pending the finish of the Nicholls vs Texas State game that followed the Lumberjack loss. A Colonel win would have SFA playing TAMUCC at 1:00 p.m. with the winner advancing to the 6:00 p.m. title game; however, a Bobcat win would have SFA starting up at 9:00 a.m. with the winner facing the winner of the 1:00 p.m. game between the Colonels and Bobcats.
The 6:00 p.m. SLC Tournament championship game will be aired live on SLC TV.