NACOGDOCHES, Texas (Press Release)- The Stephen F. Austin baseball team dropped both games of a Southland Conference doubleheader with Southeastern Louisiana at Jaycees Field Friday afternoon.
GAME ONE | Southeastern Louisiana 7, Stephen F. Austin 0
A pair of Southland Conference pitching aces were embroiled in a hotly-contested battle, but at the end of the day Mac Sceroler got the better of Patrick Ledet and the ‘Jacks. SFA’s senior left-hander matched zeroes with Sceroler through the first four frames before the Lions tagged him for the game’s first run in the fifth.
Jacob Seward started the Lions’ fifth by drilling a leadoff double over the head of a leaping Alex Hrinevich at first. Following a sacrifice bunt that pushed Seward to third, Ryan Byers hammered a fly ball to Zac Michener in right field. The senior caught it on the warning track, but Seward scampered home from third to put Southeastern Louisiana up 1-0.
After not getting a runner past first base through the first six innings of action, the ‘Jacks finally did so in the home half of the seventh. Michener and Josh Evans punched back-to-back one-out singles to the outfield and Hrinevich’s groundout pushed the pair into scoring position. Unfortunately, an inning-ending flyout to right field off the bat of Andrew Cole ended SFA’s best threat of the game.
The second of Jarrod Huber’s two singles got home team off to a good start in the eighth and Gavin Gregory’s sacrifice bunt pushed the sophomore to second base. A game-tying hit was not in the cards, however, as a flyout and a groundout ended the ‘Jacks’ final scoring threat of game one.
Things got out of hand for the ‘Jacks in the top of the ninth when the Lions sent 10 men to the plate and put things out of reach with a six-run frame. Five of those six runs came with two out and senior Austin Hagy finally put an end to the Lions’ high-scoring inning by striking out Drew Avans on three pitches.
Pinch hitter Stephen Stuart reached on a walk in the bottom of the ninth and Hrinevich followed with a single before a groundout ended the game. Huber delivered two of the ‘Jacks’ six hits and Ledet took the tough-luck loss by giving up just one run through seven frames. The senior struck out five and issued five walks during his latest outing.
Sceroler tossed eight frames of shutout baseball to pick up his eighth victory of 2017. Carson Crites led an eight-hit Southeastern Louisiana offensive attack by going 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI.
GAME TWO | Southeastern Louisiana 11, Stephen F. Austin 5
A pair of five-run innings by the Lions proved too much for the ‘Jacks to overcome in the second game of the doubleheader. SFA starter Trevor Kiminski struck out the only three batters he faced in the opening frame, but the junior right hander ran into trouble for the first time in the second.
Southeastern Louisiana started the frame with a single and a double before the first of Kiminski’s five walks loaded the bases for the Lions. A second-straight walk pushed the Lions’ first run of the game across before the visitors strung together three straight hits to make matters 5-0. Byers’ single up the middle capped the three-hit stretch and drove in a pair of runs before Kiminski gloved a hot liner off the bat of Brennan Breaud to start an inning-ending double play.
Webb Bobo’s sacrifice fly in the top of the third scored the eventual game-winning run. In that inning, the Lions loaded the bases on a hit by pitch and two more walks from Kiminski. Bobo’s flyout started a stretch of nine-straight Southeastern Louisiana batters retired by the Brooklyn Park, Minn., product.
While Kiminski was sitting down the Lions, the ‘Jacks were attempting to give their starter some much-needed run support. Two-out hits from Huber and Kendrick sandwiched around a six-pitch walk by Josh Campbell loaded the bases for SFA in the fifth, but Nick Ramos grounded out to shortstop to end the ‘Jacks’ threat.
Southeastern Louisiana put things out of reach in the sixth by scoring five more runs on three hits and SFA’s only error of the game. A bases-loaded walk followed by an infield single scored the first two SLU runs before Taylor Schwaner’s two-run double off of Austin Hearn gave the visitors double-digit runs.
Josh Evans broke up the shutout and put the ‘Jacks’ first run of the day on the board by connecting on a 1-0 pitch from Gaconi and driving it out over the right field fence for his team-leading ninth homer of the season.
Trailing 11-1, SFA received a pair of shutout frames from relief arm Ivan Garcia and Chris Hassold tossed a scoreless ninth before the ‘Jacks’ bats came alive in their final set of at-bats.
Andrew Cole started a four-run Lumberjack ninth by blasting a solo homer to right. The long ball was his first in an SFA uniform and was followed up with a walk by Eric DeJesus and a single off the bat of Kendrick. Fikes roped an RBI double down the right field line before Michener drove a 1-2 offering from Gage Pickett to the gap in left-center to drive in SFA’s last two runs of the tilt.
Kiminski took the loss, giving up eight earned runs through 5.1 innings of work. Huber, Kendrick and Michener each racked up two hits in the tilt.
With inclement weather set to hit the Nacogdoches area on Saturday, the third game of the series is set to be played at 1:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon at Jaycees Field. Should the forecast for Saturday clear up, the teams may close out the series at 2:00 p.m. Saturday. Fans should keep an eye on SFAJacks.com, SFA Athletics on Facebook and @SFA_Baseball on Twitter for all up-to-date information regarding the series finals between the ‘Jacks and Lions.
SFA Head Coach Johnny Cardenas on the losses
“More than anything, coming into a series you have certain ideas about ways you know the other team can beat you. To that end, we didn’t do a good job controlling the games the way we had been in the last couple of weekends."
“First and foremost you have to throw strikes and we didn’t do that tonight. Secondly, you have to control the running game and we didn’t do that. Thirdly, when they give you an out you have to take it. When a team has a good pitching staff like that, you have to make the most of your opportunities and as a results we run into a lopsided loss in the second game.”