BEAUMONT, Texas – The Lumberjacks moved to within one win of the school record on Thursday, getting four hits from Garrett Smith and five RBI from Darren Crabtree on their way to a 9-3 series-opening win over Lamar at Vincent-Beck Stadium
Crabtree hit a three-run bomb in the top of the sixth inning to break open the game for SFA (33-17, 19-11 Southland) who snapped a season-high, four-game losing skid with the win. It was also just the second win for SFA on Lamar's (30-23, 15-16 Southland) home field since bringing back baseball in 2006.
With the win, SFA remains in sole possession of fourth place in the Southland standings, 1.5 games above UTA for the No. 5 spot.
Tyler Herriage did not have a single 1-2-3 inning in his five frames of work, but kept the Cardinals to just one run in that span to run his record to 8-3 and lower his ERA to a league-leading 2.36 heading into next week's SLC Tournament. Brett Higginbotham and Brett Rogers combined to pitch the final four innings, allowing just two unearned runs on four hits. In all, Lamar left 16 runners on base on the night.
Matison Smith fell to 9-3 on the year, giving up 14 hits and nine runs in just 5.2 innings for the Cardinals.
For SFA, Garrett Smith tied the school's single-game record with three doubles in his first three at-bats, finishing the night by reaching base all five times he came to the plate. Five other ‘Jacks finished with multiple hits as well, including Justin Long helping out at the bottom of the order with a 2-for-4 night that included his second homer of the year.
SFA could only cash in for one run in the first inning, despite doubles from both Smith and Bobby Loveless as Jarid Scarafiotti delivered a one-out RBI single, but the ‘Jacks were able to cash in three more two innings later to open up a 4-0 lead. Scarafiotti brought in his second run of the day in that inning with an RBI and Crabtree delivered his first big blow of the night, shooting a two-run double into the left-center field gap to give the ‘Jacks some breathing room.
Lamar got one back in the bottom of the third on a bases-loaded walk from Herriage, but the Cards left the bases loaded for the second of three times on the night after Herriage got Ted Zentek to strike out and Quentin Luquette to line out to a sliding Bo Coffman in right field, keeping the score at 4-1.
The teams traded zeroes in both the fourth and fifth before SFA put the game out of reach in the sixth, starting with Long's solo blast off of Smith to lead off the frame. Two batters later Garrett Smith started a run of three straight singles, including an RBI shot from Bobby Loveless to push the score to 6-1. That set things up for Crabtree, who hit a towering home run over the scoreboard in right field with two aboard to push the lead to 9-1, taking the team lead with his ninth home run of the year in the process.
From there Higginbotham and Rogers took over, pitching two innings apiece, with Lamar only able to convert on a sacrifice fly and a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh in getting on the scoreboard. The Cardinals finished just 4-for-23 on the night with runners in scoring position.
SFA will try and clinch the series on Friday with Brad Oates scheduled to get the start opposite freshman lefty Jonathan Dziedzic for Lamar. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.