EDINBURG, Texas – Tanner Hines drove in the game-winning run in the top of the ninth and Garrett Smith threw out Billy Donaho at the plate for the final out as the ‘Jacks hung on for their fifth-straight win, 10-9, over UTPA at Edinburg Basebal Stadium on Tuesday.
SFA (12-4, 3-0 Southland) has now won five straight games, and 12 of the last 13 over the Broncs (7-4, 0-0 Great West).
The game was originally scheduled to be part of a doubleheader, but rains in the Rio Grand Valley forced series to become just a single game.
Jason West earned his first win of the season with 2.2 innings of relief, but had to have some help from his defense in the ninth to hold on. UTPA delivered a one-out single in the ninth from Garrett Bivone to get a runner on and after Angel Ibanez singled two batters later, Mike McCarthy shot one up the middle in his first at-bat of the night. But Smith played it on a hop and then threw a strike up the line to Jarid Scarafiotti at the plate to get the pinch runner Donaho to seal the win.
Hines finished with a 3-for-5 night, including two RBI and the game-winner in the ninth. That was set up by a defensive lapse by the Broncs when Jordan Lewis was called safe at second play as the second baseman Ibanez did not touch the bag on a near double-play off the bat of Smith. That set up Hines who blooped in a single to left-center off of losing pitcher Troy Green to put SFA up.
Scarafiotti picked up a pair of hits and two RBI, while Bo Coffman also finished with a 2-for-4 evening with an RBI.
The Broncs opened up an early lead with a three-run first with Vincent Mejia's two-run double proving to be the big blow; however, it could have been a lot worse as Taylor minimized the damage by striking out the last two Broncs of the inning with the bases loaded.
SFA then answered with four runs in the top of the second to take its first lead, but not without help from UTPA. Jarid Scarafiotti led off with a single and Bo Coffman brought him home with an RBI double to start the inning, but a pair of two-out errors late in the inning allowed three SFA runs to cross and gave the ‘Jacks a 4-3 lead.
But the Broncs got three more of their own to drive SFA starter Zack Taylor from the mound in favor of Brett Higginbotham with run-scoring hits from Stuart MacInnes and Ibanez for a 6-3 lead after two frames.
However, the ‘Jacks plated two more in their half of the third to tie it on a two-run single from Scarafiotti, and then got an RBI from Hines in the top of the fourth in taking advantage of another of UTPA's three miscues to for three more runs and a 9-6 advantage.
But the Broncs didn't let the lead last for long as Jose Mendoza helped chip away at the lead with an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth off of Higginbotham, before UTPA tied it up with two runs off of Brett Rogers in the fifth. Cory Ochs then came on in relief for SFA and kept the game tied, getting the final three outs of the fifth and stranding runners on second and third with a pair of strikeouts and a pop out.
From there Ochs and West managed to keep the Broncs off the scoreboard until Hines' hit in the ninth.
The win pushes SFA to 7-2 in its last nine games, all on the road, and now it can head home to take on red-hot Northwestern State at Jaycees Field on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.
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