Feb. 21, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Stephen F. Austin’s Ricardo Sanchez sacrifice fly in the top of the 13th inning lifted the Lumberjacks to a 2-1 victory over the No. 21 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide on Friday night from Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Alabama (2-2) and Stephen F. Austin (3-2) will play game two of the series on Saturday, with first pitch slated for 2:05 p.m.
“Stephen F. Austin pitched extremely well and they competed really hard tonight,” Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “On our end, we weren’t very sharp, even if it was a 2-1 game. We got out of some jams. We had a lot of opportunities offensively. We had opportunities in the ninth and 10th innings, but we weren’t able to win the game.”
Stephen F. Austin got a leadoff bunt single from Brett Thornell to open the 13th inning, before advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt and single by Matthew Dickey. The Lumberjacks game-winning run came when Sanchez flied out to right field allowing Thornell to tag and score from third.
Alabama tried to answer in the bottom of the inning, getting a leadoff bunt single from Georgie Salem. The hit was the fifth of the night for the sophomore center fielder. Salem moved to second on a deep fly ball to center field by Mikey White, but he would be left stranded at second base after Ben Moore grounded out to shortstop and Wade Wass struck out to end the game.
Despite the loss, Salem delivered five hits to tie an Alabama single game record. The last such performance came from Ryan Rhoden on February 28, 2007, in a 16-0 win over UAB. One of Salem’s five hits was a double, and he added a stolen base and a run scored.
White also turned in a strong performance for the Tide, picking up his second three-hit performance of the season, as well as the Tide’s lone RBI of the night. Will Haynie accounted for the other Alabama hit, a single in the 12th inning. Haynie also caught two runners attempting to steal.
SFA reliever Tyler Wiedenfield (1-0) got the win, allowing four hits in five scoreless frames with a pair of strikeouts. Patrick Ledet got his first save of the season after striking out one in the final scoreless inning. Alabama righty Jay Shaw (0-1) was charged with the loss after allowing one run on four hits and a walk in two innings. Before surrendering the run, the Alabama bullpen had pitched 21.1 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run.
White accounted for the first run of the game with a first inning RBI single down the left field line, but the Lumberjacks got a bases-loaded walk in the top of the third to knot it up at one apiece. After nine scoreless innings, the Stephen F. Austin scored the game-winning run in the 13th inning.
“It comes down to a couple of guys. To be a championship team, we have to have our best at-bats in those situations to win,” Gaspard said. “Right now, it has been a bit of a struggle. We have to keep grinding and keep working to correct that. If we can continue to stay consistent on the mound and defensively, things will come around for us. On the offensive end, that needs to happen quickly for us. We’ve had four games and we’ve looked pretty stale in those four games.”
Freshmen relievers Geoffrey Bramblett and Thomas Burrows combined for 5.1 shutout innings, marking 12.1 innings pitched by Alabama freshmen this season without allowing a run. Bramblett went 2.1 innings without allowing a hit or a run with three walks and a strikeout. In his second career outing, Burrows went three scoreless innings, allowing 1 hit with two strikeouts and two walks,
Turnbull tied his career high with six strikeouts in his five inning start, allowing one run on three hits with a career-high tying six strikeouts, five walks and two hit batters. Cameron Gann gave the Lumberjacks a strong start, striking out seven in as many innings, while allowing one run on four hits and a walk. Also for SFA, Dickey had a 4-for-5 night that includes a walk, a double and three singles.
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Alabama Game Notes
*Georgie Salem ties an Alabama school record with five hits in a single game, with the last occurrence coming from Ryan Rhoden against UAB on February 28, 2007.
*Mikey White had his second three-hit game of the season, the seventh of his career and the 21st multi-hit game of his career with singles in the first, third, and ninth innings.
*Spencer Turnbull tied his career high with six strikeouts, with his last six strikeout performance coming against Tulane on March 3, 2013.
*With the 13th inning run allowed by the Alabama bullpen, their streak ended at 21.1 innings without allowing an earned run.
*Alabama freshmen pitchers stretch their streak to 12.1 innings without allowing a run.
*Tonight’s game was the first ever meeting between Alabama and Stephen F. Austin.
*As a head coach Mitch Gaspard is now 4-3 all-time versus Stephen F. Austin.