From SFA Athletics
WICHITA STATE, Kan.– Zach Valenzuela launched a pinch-hit, two-run home run in the top of the ninth for the Stephen F. Austin baseball team, but that was one of just six hits amassed by the visitors in a 10-2 setback to Wichita State at Eck Stadium on Tuesday night.
In its first trip to Wichita State since 2014, the ‘Jacks committed five errors that led to four unearned runs by the home team in the opener of a two-game series between SFA and their Missouri Valley Conference antagonists.
After striking out four of the first seven batters he faced, SFA starter Eric Polivka ran into trouble in the bottom of the second and was charged with his first of two unearned runs through the course of his five-inning evening.
The third Shocker hit of that frame was a Travis Young infield single, and a pair of SFA errors while trying to secure the inning’s third out at second base and at home plate led to the game’s first score.
Before the first third of the non-conference skirmish was in the books, the hosts had extended their advantage to 3-0. Two more singles and a walk to start the lower portion the third loaded the bases for the home team and a double-play ball turned by SFA registered the first two outs of the frame but also allowed another run to score.
The ‘Jacks third error of the night – this one also with two outs – pushed the Shockers’ third run across.
After holding the home team without a run in the fourth, the Shockers added at least one run in each of their final four sets of at-bats. The hosts clobbered a pair of home runs in their fourth shutout victory of the 2016 campaign including a three-run shot by Greyson Jenista in the home half of the eighth.
Aside from Matthew Dickey’s single to lead off the game and a one-out single in the fourth from Kyle Thornell, the ‘Jacks had little success against Wichita State freshman right-hander Connor Lungwitz. Making his first career start, the Wichita, Kan., product gave up just a pair of hits and struck out 10 SFA batters in six innings of service atop the hill.
Zac Michener and Eric DeJesus each collected a hit off of Wichita State reliever Tyler Gibson and Brandon Smith notched the ‘Jacks first extra-base hit of the tilt with a one-out double in the top of the ninth against Gibson.
SFA will return to Eck Stadium on Wednesday afternoon and attempt to salvage a series split with the Shockers beginning when the first pitch is tossed at 1 p.m.