SAN MARCOS, TX (News Release)- Chase Wier allowed just one run in 5.1 innings in just his second start of the season and the Lumberjack offense put up seven runs on 18 hits to push SFA to a 7-1 victory over UTSA on Thursday at Bobcat Ballpark, leaving the `Jacks just one win away from advancing to the title game of the Southland Conference Tournament.
The Lumberjacks now command their half of the tournament bracket in winning the first two games of the event and now face the winner of the elimination game between Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and UTSA on Friday morning. SFA's next opponent will need to knock off the `Jacks in consecutive games to keep SFA from advancing to its first ever tournament title game.
Wier needed 96 pitches to get through his 5.1 innings to earn his third win of the year, but was able to escape early trouble and allowed five hits and struck out five while allowing just a single run and exiting with the lead in the sixth inning. Alex Moshier came in to toss 2.2 innings of scoreless, one-hit relief before Landon Kozeny fired a perfect ninth inning.
"We really felt like he (Wier) was a good guy for us out of the bullpen but we went to him last night and asked how he felt about starting and he said, `Coach, give me the ball and I'll give you everything I've got," head coach Johnny Cardenas said.
Taylor Walton lost for the second time this season to the `Jacks, allowing four runs on eight hits in just 4.2 innings of work. Still, he managed to strike out a career-high six batters in that span while walking just one.
It looked as though the `Runners would break through with a big inning in the second frame as consecutive singles and an error loaded the bases with none out; however, Wier buckled down and retired the next three hitters he faced without allowing a run to come across.
But one inning later UTSA was able to take the lead on an RBI grounder by Ryan Dalton, but it was a short-lived lead as the `Jacks were finally able to get to Walton in the top of the fourth. Three straight singles by Darren Crabtree, Scarafiotti and Hood loaded the bases with none out and two batters later Riley Huble picked up the first of his two RBI on the day when a sure single to center field to tie the game. Bryce Cummings then put SFA out in front, 2-1, with a sacrifice fly that scored Crabtree from third.
SFA made it 4-1 on a two-run homer from Scarafiotti in the top of the fifth, and chased Walton from the mound with a pair of two-out singles following the blast.
From there, the SFA bats continued to pressure the UTSA bullpen, stranding two in the sixth before Huble added a sacrifice fly to make it 5-1 in the seventh inning. The `Jacks left the bases juiced in the eighth, but not before scoring two more times on an RBI single by Scarafiotti and Hood's second double of the afternoon.
Meanwhile, the bullpen did its job for the second straight day with 3.2 innings of scoreless relief. Moshier and Kozeny combined to allow just three base runners for the day, with none advancing as far as second base.
SFA will take on either Texas A&M-Corpus Christi or UTSA on Friday at 4:00 p.m. with a chance to advance to the title game of the Southland Conference Tournament.