SUGAR LAND, Texas – Stephen F. Austin defeated Houston Christian University 21-14 in a 15-inning game where both teams refused to give in. The Lumberjacks improve to 2-4 while the Huskies fall to 0-5.
In a game where 35 total runs were scored, it was pretty low scoring for the first half of the regulated nine innings. The Lumberjacks got the first run of the game in the top of the first, coming off an RBI triple to left field by Tom Biggs, the SFA leader in RBI’s coming into today. This would be the only run the ‘Jacks would produce in the first five innings.
Joe Richter started on the mound for SFA and gave a solid outing in his five innings pitched. Richter allowed two runs off of seven hits, and struck out five. The Huskies tied the game up in the second inning with a solo home run and took the lead in the fourth inning with a pair of singles.
Clayton Loranger started the sixth inning rally with a lead-off bunt single. Peyton Parker followed that up with a double down the left-field line, scoring Loranger and tying the game at two. Cal Martin then reached on base by a throwing error by the Huskies’ third basemen, that allowed Parker to score from third, who advanced from second during Biggs’ at-bat. Cole Hill gave the ‘Jacks their third run of the inning with an RBI single up the middle, scoring Martin.
The Huskies were able to get one of those runs back in the bottom of the inning, following a string of walks and a hit-by-pitch. The next inning the Huskies were able to retie the game at four apiece when they led the bottom of the seventh with a double. The Husky advanced to third on a groundout and then scored on a wild pitch.
Martin gave the Lumberjacks the lead back in a big way with homer to left field in the top of the eighth. Scout Sanders came into pinch hit for Hill and put himself on second base after the right fielder committed a fielding error. Sam Adams then drove in Sanders with a single to right field. After Adams advanced to second on a wild pitch, Nolan Brown brought him with another single to left field and capped off another three-run inning for the ‘Jacks. That lead didn’t last long as the Huskies fought back once again in the bottom half of the inning. After a string of three singles and a hit batter, HCU retied the game at 7-7 heading into the ninth inning.
After a three-up, three-down top half for the ‘Jacks, the Huskies were able to get a single but nothing more and the game was heading into extra innings.
With the ghost-runner rule in place in extra innings, Biggs was put at second base at the top of the inning. Sanders was able to clutch up and score Biggs with a single to right field and give the ‘Jacks a one-run lead going into the bottom half of the inning. However, the Huskies were also able to take advantage of the ghost runner and drove him in with a double down the right-field line. The game continued onto the 11th with the score tied at 8-8.
Following a walk drawn by Brown, Alex Rodgers gave the Lumberjacks the lead in the top of the 11th with a single through the left side, scoring the ghost runner. A couple of batters later, both Biggs and Martin got hit by pitches and that allowed Brown to score, giving the ‘Jacks a 10-8 lead. Caleb Cude came into pitch hoping to close the game in bottom half of the inning. Cude was able to get the first two batters out by a groundout and strikeout. But it seems as if HCU subbed in a pinch-hitter at the right time, as they were able to tie the game once again off a pinch-hit, two-out home run. With that, the game was heading into the 12th inning, all tied up at 10-10.
With an eventful first couple of extra innings, the next one was more uneventful as the Huskies struck out the side and the ‘Jacks reciprocated the same by striking out two out of three, holding the Huskies from scoring.
The action picked back up in the 13th, when Cody Fleischer came in clutch with a three-run double to left center, scoring Rodgers (ghost runner), Loranger who singled, and Parker who walked. But the Huskies still refused to go down as they scored a run following a single and a double. They were then able to take advantage of a costly mistake by Parker who made a throwing error from third, allowing two runs to score and tying the game back up at 13-13. This long-fought game would keep going into the 14th inning.
Sanders would be the ghost runner this inning, and he would advance himself on a wild pitch. Brown would then bring him in with a sacrifice fly to center. But the Huskies would respond again and retie the game with an RBI single in the bottom half of the inning.
Now in the 15th inning, the Lumberjacks decided it was time to finally put this game to an end. Loranger, Parker, and Biggs led off the inning with three straight singles, which brought in two runs. Martin brought in the third run with a RBI groundout to third. A new pitcher then came into relief for HCU, who struggled on the mound by hitting three batters, walking another with the bases loaded, and letting another run score via wild pitch. Loranger then capped off the seven-run inning with his second single of the inning, which scored two more. With the score now 21-14, the Lumberjacks were finally able to comfortably put the Huskies away. Sanders was able to put an exclamation point on the game by starting the bottom half of the inning doubling-off the ghost runner at second by gunning him down from right field after catching a flyout. Reid Bowyer, who pitched the last four innings, was able to get the last batter out, putting an end to the five-hour game, and giving SFA a hard-fought victory.
As previously mentioned, Bowyer pitched the final four innings of the game and got the win. Bowyer only allowed one earned run off of five hits and struck out two. Loranger, Parker, Biggs, and Brown all picked up multiple hits on the night, with Loranger leading the team with five hits on eight at-bats. Martin led the team with four RBI’s, four other Lumberjacks were able to secure multiple RBI’s.
The ‘Jacks will now need a good, long rest before taking on the Cardinals tonight at 7:00 p.m.