NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Lumberjack baseball team used a five-run third inning in the first game, and six strikeouts from freshman Cody Priest in the second game to sweep a doubleheader and the season series from UTPA on Wednesday at Jaycees Field.
The 'Jacks (19-9, 7-4 Southland) cruised to a 10-4 win in the first game and got the win in the second game after jumping to a 3-1 lead after four innings. After the Broncs (10-12, 0-0 Great West) left the tying runners on base following the top of the fourth go a weather-aided win as heavy rain and lightning that had been looming in the area finally fell and forced the cancellation of the rest of the game.
SFA got solid pitching performances a trio of freshmen, including Priest and Brett Higginbotham getting their first collegiate wins. Josh Wright pitched the final 2.1 innings of the first game, allowing just one hit and walking none to earn his first save.
Higginbotham scattered seven hits and allowed just four runs in pitching into the seventh before giving way to Wright in the first game, and Priest threw all five frames of the second game with six strikeouts and two walks and did not allow an earned run for his complete game win.
Both UTPA starters took losses for the Broncs, Troy Green in the first game and Leo Chang in the second.
Jarid Scarafiotti and Bobby Loveless carried the load offensively in the first game for SFA, each getting three hits and a home run while Scarafiotti finished with a career best five RBI.
He put the 'Jacks on top in the first game with an RBI single in the first, and then after the Broncs tied things up in the top of the second, delivered one of three SFA home runs in a five-run third inning. Garrett Smith led the inning off with a solo home run, and three batters later Scarafiotti drove a 3-0 pitch over the left field fence to give the 'Jacks a 5-1 lead. Loveless then made it back-to-back shots as he took the first pitch from Green out to right-center field, giving SFA its first back-to-back homers since May 3, 2008.
UTPA finally got on the board again in the seventh, with three runs – one earned – off of Higginbotham, but the SFA offense was right there in its half of the frame to make up for make them up. Jordan Lewis delivered a bloop RBI single one batter before Michael Haynes shot a triple into the right field corner that plated two more runs and pushed the lead back to 9-4. Scarafiotti added one more RBI on a single in the eighth, which was more than enough cushion for Wright who pitched a perfect final inning for the save.
The second game started with the rough weather looming, but it wasn't until the third inning that SFA was able to get on the board. Smith drew a one-out walk and moved all the way to third after a stolen base and throwing error. Two batters later he came in to score on a sacrifice fly from Darren Crabtree, and one batter later Loveless picked up an RBI as right fielder Alex Carnall slipped in right field and allowed a two-bagger to fall in next to him for a 2-0 SFA lead.
Priest then had to work around a pair of errors in the top of the fourth, one of which cost SFA a run. But the inning could have been worse before Priest struck out Alex San Juan looking with the tying run stranded at second.
The 'Jacks added what proved to be an insurance run in the bottom of the fourth on a sacrifice fly from Haynes for a 3-1 lead. Priest then got some defensive help in the top of the fifth as Patrick Gratzke threw out Alex Carnall trying to advance from first to third on a single for the first out. Lewis then made a diving stop at second base for the second out as runners moved to second and third; however, from there Priest did it himself by striking out Garrett Bivone looking to keep SFA ahead.
Between innings, game officials and umpires were notified of the severity of the weather in the area and called the game in the middle of the fifth; however, it was deemed an official game since the visiting Broncs had hit five times.