NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Brett Higginbotham pitched six strong innings in his second start of the year and the bullpen combination of Colton Eubanks and Alex Moshier did not allow a base runner in the final three frames as SFA won its second consecutive game, 6-3, on Tuesday over UT-Pan American at Jaycees Field in the final non-conference game of the 2011 season.
The Lumberjacks (32-20) have now won 13 of their last 14 games in the series against UTPA (19-24), who has now dropped each of their last 10 decisions overall this year. SFA only got seven hits on the day off of seven Bronc pitchers, but bunched together enough for a three-run third inning and a two-run eighth to score the bulk of its runs.
No SFA hitter finished with more than one hit on the day, but SFA took the opportunity to make sure that 14 players got at least one at-bat on the afternoon. Meanwhile, Higginbotham saw his record go to 2-0 with the win, only allowing one hit in his first five innings on the mound before the Broncs put together a three-run sixth. The sophomore struck out four hitters and walked two while allowing each of the four UTPA hits on the day.
Eubanks, meanwhile, struck out three in two perfect innings of relief before handing things over to Moshier who fanned two of the three hitters he faced in a perfect ninth inning to earn his first career save.
Austin Casas dropped his record to 1-1, allowing the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly from Hunter Dozier in the bottom of the sixth inning.
SFA jumped out in front with three runs in the third inning after singles from Dozier and Michael Haynes put two runners on with just one out against Troy Green. A UTPA error allowed the runners to move up a bag and Bryson Myles picked up the RBI with a ground ball to shortstop that put SFA in front 1-0. Two batters later Darren Crabtree hit a hard single to right field to plate another before the Broncs balked in the third run of the frame.
Higginbotham had little issue keeping UTPA off the board in each of the next two innings, but a one-out walk to Jason Webb sparked a rally in the sixth for the Broncs. Two batters after the walk Vincent Mejia reached on an infield hit that was followed by a bloop RBI single fro Angel Ibanez that cut the lead to 3-1. A failed pickfoff try then moved each runner up a bag and Mike McCarthy tied it up one batter later with a sure single to center field.
But the ‘Jacks immediately answered, with a leadoff walk to Jackson Hood getting SFA going in the bottom of the inning. A fielder's choice off the bat of Chris Hernandez and a UTPA error put Hernandez on second in Hood's place with one out, and after a wild pitch moved him to third, Dozier brought him home with his go-ahead sacrifice fly for a 4-3 SFA lead.
Eubanks then shut down the Broncs in each of the next two innings, and the SFA offense added some insurance in the eighth, scoring twice on a passed ball and a pinch-hit RBI double from Max Lamantia. Moshier then entered in the ninth and needed just 12 pitches to pick up two strikeouts in his scoreless ninth inning to become the fifth Lumberjack pitcher this year to earn a save.
The Lumberjacks close out the regular season this weekend with a three-game set versus Lamar at home beginning Thursday at 3:00 p.m.