NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Tyler Herriage allowed just three runs in eight innings on the mound and Tanner Hines' RBI single in the fifth proved to be just enough for Stephen F. Austin to edge Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 4-3, in the series opener on Friday at Jaycees Field.
Herriage tied his career-long outing with the eight frames, running his record to 6-2 for the 'Jacks (22-10, 10-5 Southland) who picked up their first win at home over the Islanders (13-22, 5-11 Southland) since 2006. The junior worked around some difficult bounces in the first four innings before retiring 13 of the final 14 hitters he faced to end his afternoon with the only runner reaching base doing so on an error in the eighth inning.
Jason West threw a perfect ninth inning that included a pair of punch outs to earn his seventh save of the year.
SFA hit the ball hard all afternoon off of Islander starter Jake Liedka, who managed to only scatter nine hits in tossing only the second complete game of the season for TAMUCC in falling to 2-1 on the year.
Hines and Ryan Priest each finished with a pair of hits, with Hines' first-inning single extending his hit streak to 21 games, which ties him with McNeese State's Jace Peterson for the longest streak by an SLC player this season.
The Islanders were the ones to strike first, jumping out to an early 2-0 lead in the second as a bloop single from Chris Vergne and a bunt single from Jeramie Marek opened the inning. After a walk to Weston Montgomery loaded the bases, it looked like Herriage would get away unscathed before leadoff man Caleb Marx shot a two-bagger into the right-field corner that plated a pair and put the Islanders out in front.
Meanwhile, SFA put a runner on in each of its first three innings but a pair of double plays and a pickoff quickly erased any chance for momentum early on.
TAMUCC pushed its lead to 3-0 in the fourth when Marx came through again with an RBI single that plated Montgomery; however, the lead did not last long as the SFA bats came alive in their half of the fourth.
Garrett Smith opened up the inning with a sure single and after a sacrifice bunt and a walk to Jarid Scarafiotti, Bobby Loveless put SFA on the board when he bounded an RBI single through the left side to cut the lead to 3-1. One pitch later Ryan Priest delivered his second hit of the day, a line drive off the left-center field wall that cleared the bases and knotted the score at 3-3.
After Herriage set the Islanders down in order in the top of the fifth, the 'Jacks got a break when Smith reached again, this time on a two-out miscue by Ege. Smith then promptly swiped second and Hines brought him around as he sent a 2-2 pitch from Liedka into right field that put SFA ahead for good.
From there Herriage carried the load, allowing just the one baserunner to reach via error while striking out a pair in making it through the next three frames. He then gave way to West, who made quick work of the Islanders in the ninth to close out the win.