NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Stephen F. Austin baseball team gave up a seven-run second inning to the University of Houston on Tuesday, and the Cougars cruised the rest of the way in taking a 10-3 win at Jaycees Field in the first of a home-and-home midweek series.
SFA (13-6, 4-1 Southland) managed 11 hits off of the Cougar (10-9) pitching staff, but was just 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left a season-high 13 runners on base in the loss.
Jared West got the start for the ‘Jacks after missing a start on the weekend against Northwestern State due to weather, and the Cougars greeted him rudely in handing him his first loss of the season and his first loss at home since 2008. West allowed the first six Houston runs in just an inning of work before SFA went to three arms out of the bullpen that allowed four more runs the rest of the way.
Brett Higginbotham was solid in his first home appearance of the year, tossing four innings of relief, giving up just two earned runs with a strikeout. Josh Wright and Landon Kozeny also threw scoreless innings in relief, as did Alex Moshier in his first appearance of the season.
Mo Wiley was credited with his second win of the season, allowing two runs on eight hits through five innings of work.
Each team managed a run in the first with Matt Creel delivering an RBI single for the Cougars and Jarid Scarafiotti matching him with one of his own in the bottom half of the inning; however, the Cougars broke it open in its half of the second as the first six hitters that came up reached base and eventually scored as Houston sent 11 batters to the plate in crossing seven runs on just six hits for an 8-1 lead.
The Cougars added a run in the top of the third on a sacrifice fly from Zak Presley, but the ‘Jacks continued to have their chances offensively. SFA left at least one runner on base in each of the first four innings, including leaving the bases loaded in the first.
SFA had its best opportunity to get back in the game in its half of the fifth, loading the bases with just one out on singles by Tanner Hines and Bobby Loveless and a walk to Darren Crabtree. But Wiley coaxed a double play out of Scarafiotti that got the Cougars out of the inning and comfortably ahead 9-1.
Ryan Priest added an RBI for SFA in the sixth and Loveless pushed one home in the ninth, but it was too little too late as Chase Dempsay, Ty Stuckey and William Kankel combined to throw the final four innings for the Cougars.
Loveless led the ‘Jacks offensively with a 3-for-5 day, while Hines extended his hit streak to nine games with a single with his fifth-inning single.
The teams square off again on Tuesday at Cougar Field in Houston with game time set for 6:30 p.m. Zack Taylor is scheduled to get the ball for SFA, opposite James Conlee for Houston.