CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Texas State's Michael Russo allowed just two runs in eight innings of work on Thursday against Stephen F. Austin, holding the 'Jacks to just six hits in a 10-4 win for the Bobcats on the second day of the Southland Conference Tournament, eliminating the 'Jacks from the eight-team tournament at Whataburger Field.
The top-seeded Bobcats (35-21) advance to Friday's elimination game with the win to face the loser of the UTA/Nicholls game to be played at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday. SFA's season comes to a close with the loss at 34-20 on the year, tying the most wins in the history of the program.
Texas State is now 3-0 all-time in postseason games against the 'Jacks, eliminating SFA from the tournament in both 2007 and now 2010.
Despite the loss, the 'Jacks still saw a school record get tied as Riley Huble finished with enough at-bats to qualify for the single-season batting record at SFA, closing the year with a .412 average that ties Jeff Medlin's 1984 mark. He is only the second SFA hitter to ever hit .400 in a season.
Russo ran his record to 5-2 with the win, tying a season high with eight punch outs on the day. Brad Oates got the start for the 'Jacks, but gave up four runs in the first two innings before giving way to a trio of pitchers out of the Lumberjack bullpen, falling to 3-3 on the year with the loss.
Jarid Scarafiotti and Bo Coffman were the only Lumberjacks with multiple hits on the day, while the first five hitters in Texas State's lineup accounted for 11 of the team's 13 hits on the day.
The Bobcats took advantage of a leadoff walk in the first, plating a pair of runs on RBI hits from Kyle Kubitza and Jason Martinson for an early 2-0 lead. Bret Atwood delivered the first of his two hits on the day one inning later with a two-run double that pushed the Bobcat lead to 4-0, just two innings into the day.
Michael Haynes cut the lead in half with his fifth homer of the year in the bottom of the second, hitting a two-run bomb off of Russo over the left-field fence, but from there Russo put things in cruise control. The senior retired 16 of the next 18 hitters he faced through the seventh inning.
Meanwhile the 'Cats added insurance runs in both the fifth and sixth frames to pad its lead to a four-run cushion. Texas State got an RBI single in the fourth from Laurn Randell and then was able to take advantage of a two-out error by the 'Jacks in the fifth to get those runs across.
A leadoff walk in the bottom of the eighth gave the 'Jacks a glimmer of hope for a rally, but Russo coaxed a double play to put that to an end. One inning later Texas State put the game out of reach with Kubitza and Martinson's second two-out hits of the day to pusht eh lead to 8-2 going into the ninth.
Scarafiotti and Coffman each picked up singles to open the ninth, prompting Ty Harrington to bring in stopper Garrett Carruth who proceeded to get the final three outs, including a pair of strikeouts to end the game.