From SFA Athletics
NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)- On the wrong end of a 4-2 score in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Stephen F. Austin baseball team charged up a sizable congregation of Lumberjack backers at Jaycees Field by sending 10 men to the plate and scoring five runs on five hits – including Garrett McMullen’s go-ahead, bases-clearing double with one out – to make its home opener a successful one with a 7-5 win over Sacred Heart.
McMullen’s timely laser down the left field line made a winner out of junior right-handerJarred Greene for his second time in as many 2016 starts. The Pasadena, Texas, product worked his way through six innings of five-hit, four-run ball on the hill and fanned four to move to 2-0 in 2016.
Junior Cole Ridgely closed out the game’s last 1 1/3 innings to pick up his first save in a Lumberjack uniform.
The first run scored at Jaycees Field in 2016 was placed on the home side of the scoreboard and came with just one SFA hit through the first third of the non-conference skirmish. Tyler Kendrick led off the first with a base on balls and moved to third on a passed ball and a single by Kyle Thornell.
Following a strikeout by Zach Michener, Thornell got hung up trying to advance to second. An alert Kendrick broke for home and scored the first run of the game before Thornell was tagged out to end the frame.
Outside of two unfortunate pitches, Greene enjoyed a highly productive outing while toeing the rubber. He retired the first six batters he faced before Sacred Heart’s Ted Shaw greeted him with a double to lead off the third. Directly after registering the first out of the inning, sophomore Dan Schock connected on a 2-2 offering from Greene and deposited the ball beyond the fence in left field, handing the Pioneers a 2-1 lead with his swing.
Victor Sorrento served as the culprit in giving the Pioneers a 4-1 lead when he connected for his first home run of 2016 – a two-run shot – in the top of the fourth. Following that long ball, Greene settled back down and sat down six of the next seven batters he faced.
Before their big sixth, the ‘Jacks scratched across their second run of the game in the bottom of the fourth. Conner Fikes hit what looked like a tailor-made double-play ball to Sacred Heart’s infield, but an errant throw from the Pioneer shortstop allowed Thornell to score from third and trim SFA’s deficit to 4-2.
Pinch hitter Zach Zach Valenzuela plated what turned out to be the eventual game-winning run with an RBI single in SFA’s five-run sixth. Kendrick added an insurance run in the frame by striking for his lone hit of the night that scored Tyler Boxwell.
Boxwell’s accurate arm came up from behind the plate, too. In the top of the sixth, he threw out two would-be Sacred Heart base stealers with a pair of big-time throws. Both of the Pioneers reached base on two of the visitors’ nine hits.
The last of three Sacred Heart hits in the top of the eighth accounted for the Pioneers final run, and with two outs in the frame Ridgely took over for Austin Hagy on the hill and stranded a pair of Pioneer runners on the paths by inducing a flyout in foul territory.
Michener went 3-for-4 at the plate with a run scored and Thornell produced a 2-for-3 effort at the dish while drawing a walk and scoring a pair of runs.
SFA continues its three-game series with the Pioneers at Jaycees Field on Saturday afternoon. First pitch in the middle game of the three-game set is slated for 2:00 p.m.