NACOGDOCHES, Texas – With the snow blowing sideways throughout the game at Jaycees Field, Bo Coffman drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the bottom of the 10th to give SFA a 10-9 comeback win over Northwestern State on Sunday.
The game was originally scheduled to be a doubleheader to complete the three-game series, but a freakish snowstorm blew threw the Nacogdoches area and began just before gametime and never fully subsided. Game officials then decided to forego the series finale. SFA and Northwestern State have not played a three-game conference series since the 2007 season due to weather issues each of the past three seasons.
The ‘Jacks (13-5, 4-1 Southland) never led until Coffman's walk and overcame a season-high six errors to get its first extra-inning win of the season. The weather wreaked havoc on both teams throughout the day and was never more evident than in the top of the 10th when what looked to be a routine fly ball to shallow center fell to the ground off the bat of Garrett Smith in the midst of three Demons (14-4, 3-2 Southland). Smith eventually scored the winning run.
Justin Braddock got the start for the ‘Jacks, taking a no-decision after scattering nine hits over 5.2 innings with a season-best five strikeouts and only one walk. He allowed all nine Demon runs, of which only two were earned.
Cory Ochs and Jason West once again carried the load for the bullpen, shutting out Northwestern State for the final 4.1 innings of the game. West was rewarded with his second win of the season with 3.1 innings of work, including three strikeouts.
The Demons used four pitchers on the day, but it was lefty Andrew Adams that took the loss by allowing the winning run in the tenth.
Each of the final four hitters in the SFA lineup finished with multiple hits and at least one RBI, including Michael Haynes' 3-for-4 afternoon that finished just a home run away from the cycle. Jordan Lewis also took advantage of his start at DH, going 3-for-5 with a pair of runs driven in and scored.
Each team got a pair of runs in their halves of the third with the Demons taking advantage of a walk and an error by the ‘Jacks to jump ahead 2-0 before Smith and Tanner Hines delivered run-scoring hits in the SFA half of the inning to tie it up.
But the SFA defense faltered again in the top of the fourth in giving the lead immediately back to the Demons. Three Demon singles and a pair of SFA fielding miscues extended the inning, allowing Northwestern State to plate a trio of runs – two unearned - and jump back ahead 5-2; however, Ryan Priest emphatically answered the Demons' rally with one of his own in the bottom of the fourth, sending a 1-2 pitch from Demon starter Heath Hennigan over the left-field fence for his fifth home run of the season, a two-run shot that trimmed the lead back to a single run.
Braddock then sailed through the fifth before running into trouble again in the fifth. Colin Bear and Justin Martinez each delivered one-out singles to before consecutive errors from Haynes at second base allowed a pair of runs to score. Ochs then came in to relieve Braddock and face Chase Lyles, who delivered his only hit in five trips to the plate on the day, a two-run single with two outs to give Northwestern State a comfortable 9-4 lead.
But the ‘Jacks wasted no time in voicing a response as Bobby Loveless doubled to lead off the bottom of the sixth and consecutive walks to Coffman and Priest loaded the bases for Lewis, who delivered a two-run double to the left-center gap to cut the lead to 9-6. Haynes then sliced a liner one batter later against the wind that fell in for a two-run triple down the right-field line off of reliever Dustin Northcott that drew SFA to within one and put the tying run on third with nobody out. But to Northcott's credit, he left the runner stranded on third to keep the Demons ahead.
The SFA bullpen then did its job in keeping the Demons at bay until the eighth, when the ‘Jacks were able to knot it up. Northcott hurt himself by issuing a leadoff walk to Haynes, who moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt by Smith and then crossed the plate one batter later when Hines delivered a sure single up the middle.
West then worked out of a pair of jams in the top of both the ninth and tenth innings with runners in scoring position for the Demons before SFA was finally able to cash in on its opportunity in the tenth. Smith started the rally with his bloop double on the first pitch he saw from Adams to put the ‘Jacks in business. The Demons then opted to intentionally walk Hines to get to Justin McAninch, who dropped down a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance the runners. But Riley Huble went down swinging for the second out and after Loveless got ahead in the count 3-1, J.P. Davis gave him a free pass to first to load the bases and get a left-on-left matchup between Adams and Coffman.
Coffman looked at a pair of pitches out of the strike zone and eventually ran the count full before Adams sent one low and away to push across the final SFA run.
The ‘Jacks next play a midweek home-and-home series with the University of Houston beginning Tuesday at Jaycees Field, and followed by a Wednesday game at Cougar Field in Houston.