The Texas Longhorns used a mixture of hit batsmen, walks, and timely hitting, as well as taking advantage of defensive errors, to beat the Stephen F. Austin State University Lumberjacks 9-1, Tuesday night at Disch-Falk Field. Dillon Peters earned his first win of the season in a declared 3 inning start, using 40 pitches to strike out four batters and only allowing one walk and no hits. After Peters, it was a revolving door on the mound with Nathan Thornhill, Ricky Jacquez, John Curtiss, and Hoby Milner all seeing work, combining for seven strikeouts and allowing only four hits and one run. Behind the pitching staff was another solid Longhorn defensive display, including a web gem from Mark Payton who completely laid out to catch a ball headed for the gap, ending the fifth inning and leaving a Lumberjack stranded on second.
The scoring started in the second inning for Texas, aided by a pair of Lumberjack errors. Freshman Brooks Marlow led off the inning with a base hit to right field, and errors by SFAâ€™s second baseman and pitcher put Alex Silver and Jacob Felts on base soon thereafter. With the bases loaded and no outs, Kevin Lusson was issued a walk to bring home the first Texas run. Jordan Etier then smacked a single into the outfield, plating Silver and Felts, and moving Lusson to third. With Christian Summers at the plate, Etier stole second. After Summers hit a dribbler out in front of the plate, the bases were once again loaded. Texas couldnâ€™t push any further runs across and ended the inning with a 3-0 lead.
While the pitching continued to dominate, Texas continued to drive in runs, scoring in the third after a lead-off triple from Brooks Marlow and a fielderâ€™s choice RBI from Jordan Etier. Texas scored another two runs in the fourth, making great use of small ball tactics. Tim Maitland led off being hit-by-pitch and stole second before Mark Payton flew out to left field, advancing Maitland to third. After Erich Weiss earned a walk, Brooks Marlow came through again for the Longhorns, using a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt to bring Maitland home and move Weiss to second. Alex Silver then shot a triple through the gap in right-center, bringing home Weiss for the second run of the inning.
Mark Payton had a streak of reaching base for 18 straight games on the line as he stepped to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning, going 0-3 on his first few trips. But this time he drove the first pitch he saw to right center field, deep enough to scramble to second for a lead off double and 19 straight games of reaching base successfully. Weiss would follow up by drawing a walk and both base runners would advance as Marlow successfully laid down a sacrifice bunt. Pitcher Cameron Gann was relieved by Kevin Bishop who demonstrated control issues when he threw a wild pitch allowing Payton to score, and advancing Weiss to third. He then hit Alex Silver to put a man on first and third with one out. When SFA catcher Jarid Scarafiotti attempted to pick Weiss off at third, the ball sailed into left field, allowing Weiss to come home, unearned, while Silver moved to second base. The inning ended without further runs for the Longhorns, but Texas scored one more run in the seventh, when Tim Maitland was hit by pitch again, moved to third by a Mark Payton single, and then brought home by a sacrifice fly off the bat of Erich Weiss.
The Lumberjacks tacked one run on the board in the eighth when pinch hitter Chris Hernandez rocketed a solo home run into the visitor bullpen. John Curtiss regained his composure and collected three quick outs to dampen the Lumberjack spirit. Hoby Milner entered the game in the ninth and posted a 1-2-3 inning to end the game. Texas improved to 11-8 on the season while collecting its sixth consecutive victory. The Longhorns return to action this Friday night when they travel to Manhattan, Kansas for a three-game weekend series with the Kansas State Wildcats.
Photos: Donald Boyles
Cross-posted from Texas Baseball Blog