NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Stephen F. Austin defeated UT-Arlington 12-11 with a walk-off error in the bottom of the ninth to tie the series at 1-1. The Lumberjacks improve to 18-18 (WAC 11-9) and the Mavericks fall to 20-19 (WAC 10-7).
The Lumberjacks struck first this afternoon in the bottom of the first when Tom Biggs lined a ball that went past a diving center-fielder for his third triple of the year, driving in Alex Rodgers for the first run of the game. Biggs was then brought in by an RBI single from Cole Hill, the first of a strong day for Hill.
Following the Mavericks scoring one via a sacrifice fly in the top of the third, Hill stayed hot at the plate by driving a two-run double down the left field line to give the ‘Jacks a 4-1 lead after three innings.
The Mavericks began to climb back from their deficit starting in the top of the fifth when they brought in one run from a RBI single. Their first comeback continued into the sixth when they scored four after recording five hits in the inning.
Rodgers started a rally for the ‘Jacks in the bottom half of the inning with a single. As Rodgers attempted to steal second base, the throw down from the catcher ricochets off Rodgers into the outfield, which allows him to make his way to third. Clayton Loranger then brought in Rodgers with a groundout to second. Peyton Parker stepped up next and made his way to first after hitting a groundball to shortstop who made a throwing error trying to get Parker out for the third out of the inning. Instead, Biggs came up to the plate next and made the Mavericks pay for the error by hitting a monster home run to right field, bringing in two runs and giving the Lumberjacks the lead back at 7-6.The game was tied back up at seven apiece after a solo home run from the Mavericks in the top of the eighth. But the Lumberjacks responded right back in the bottom half of the inning by putting up four runs. The big inning was started once again by Rodgers who led off the inning with a double and Parker followed up with an RBI single to retake the lead. A few batters later, Hill expanded the lead with another RBI single, his fourth RBI of the game. With two outs and runners on second and third, the Mavericks had a chance to minimize the damage when Nolan Brown hit a groundball to third, however, with the ball bring thrown away by the third-basemen, both of the runners scored and the ‘Jacks left the inning with a four-run lead heading into the final inning.
But the Mavericks refused the quit, and began another two-out rally with two runners on. A third single in the inning by UTA drove in one run to make it a three-run game with the tying run at the plate. One three-run homer later, and the game was tied 11-11. Two more singles and walk later, the Lumberjacks got out of the jam without letting up a go-ahead run to go into the bottom of the ninth to try and win the game.
Julian Thompson and Rodgers led off the bottom half of the inning with back-to-back singles and made their way to second and third after the throw to third on Rodgers’ single allowed Rodgers to go to second. UTA then intentionally walked Loranger to have a force play at home, as the next run wins the game. With the bases-loaded, Parker stepped up to the plate to try and be the hero for the Lumberjacks. On the final play of the game, the ‘Jacks took advantage of one final miscue from the Mavericks as Parker hit a chopper groundball to the shortstop who attempted to come home with the play, but the throw home sailed over the catcher and the winning run scored for the walk-off win. Today’s win ties up the series with the Mavericks and ends their losing-skid in conference matchups.
Hill was a huge contributor to the win today as he went 4-for-5 at the plate with four RBIs and one run. Rodgers also picked up four hits on the day and scored three times on the day. Biggs was able to get on base on all five plate appearances on the day, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs, four runs, and two walks. Cal Martin was able to reach base three times on the day, going 2-for-4 with a walk.
The Lumberjacks will look to win the series against the Mavericks tomorrow at 12:00, coverage on ESPN+