NACOGDOCHES, Texas - SFA held an 8-6 lead going into the top of the ninth inning, but allowed two Creighton runs to send the game to extra innings where Elliot Soto delivered a bloop RBI single in the top of the 10th to give the Bluejays a 9-8 win on Sunday at the SFA Lumberjack Classic.
Former Hudson Hornet Tanner Hines finished the day 2-for-4 with three RBI, including a two-run triple in the seventh that tied the score. He then put the `Jacks (4-2) ahead 7-6 when he scored on a wild pitch one batter later. Garrett Smith and Bobby Loveless each had multiple hits on the day, while Darren Crabtree delivered his first home run as a Lumberjack with a solo shot in the first inning.
Brad Oates took the loss for the `Jacks, allowing just one run in two innings of relief with two strikeouts as one of five SFA pitchers to see the hill.
Bobby Lackovic moved to 2-0 for Creighton with two innings of scoreless relief for the Bluejays.
The `Jacks put themselves in an early hole with uncharacteristically sloppy defense, committing three errors in the first frame after only committing one miscue in five games to open the year. Those errors led to three unearned runs against SFA starter Jared West, who lasted just 4.0 innings before giving way to Cory Ochs who threw 2.2 innings of scoreless baseball in his second appearance of the season.
Crabtree answered the Jays first inning with his solo homer in the bottom of the first, but the Jays got the run back in the top of the third on a single by Jimmy Swift.
SFA, however, cut into the lead again in their half of the frame on an RBI double from Hines that scored Smith from second. A Creighton error then bumped Hines up to third and two batters later he came in to score on a sacrifice fly from Jarid Scarafiotti, making it 4-3 after three innings.
West then got into some trouble again in the top of the fourth, but nearly escaped before Trever Adams punched a single through the left side that plated Robbie Knight and Ian Dike to give the Jays a three-run cushion again.
Ochs then came on to start the fifth and kept the Bluejays in check, giving SFA a chance to chip away at the lead again with an RBI single from Loveless in the bottom of the sixth.
Then, after Jason West came on to fan Clay Cuno with a runner on, the `Jacks went to work in the stretch half of the seventh.
Jordan Lewis sparked the rally with a one-out single and moved to third on a clean double by Smith. Hines then sent a fly ball sailing over the head of T.J. Roemmich in right-center field for a two-run triple, his second in as many days, to tie the score at six apiece. Three pitches later Creighton pitcher Brandon Koenigstein uncorked a wild pitch that let Hines slide across home plate for a 7-6 lead. SFA added an insurance run two batters later on an RBI double from Bo Coffman, giving the `Jacks a two-run lead with just two frames to go.
But after a scoreless eighth from West, Landon Kozeny came on to try for the save in the ninth and immediately got himself in a jam as Soto and Adams reached with a single and a walk to start the ninth. Oates then came to the hill, and after a sacrifice bunt from Roemmich advanced the runners gave up an RBI single to Cuno that tied things up.
However, SFA had a chance to win it in walkoff fashion in the ninth after Smith led off with a walk and moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt from Hines. But Lackovic issued an intentional walk to Crabtree before coaxing an inning-ending double play from Scarafiotti to give those at Jaycees Field bonus baseball.
Oates then put himself behind the eight ball in the tenth by issuing a five-pitch walk to Dike to lead off, and three batters later Soto fought off a 1-2 pitch and landed it in no-man's land in shallow center field for the game-winner.
SFA will get Monday off before returning to action on Tuesday at home against Houston Baptist. Game time is set for 3:00 p.m. with Justin Braddock scheduled to throw for the `Jacks.