Southland Conference Recap for April 30th

Here is your Southland Conference Recap for April 30th. Courtesy of the Southland Conference.

ClintDempsterNicholls Nicholls 5, Southeastern Louisiana 3
THIBODAUX, La. – Nicholls junior left hander Clint Dempster delivered a dominant performance Friday night in a 5-3 win over Southeastern Louisiana in the opener of a three-game Southland Conference series. The junior struck out 16 and allowed just one earned run in turning in his third complete game of the season.

The Colonel defense committed a pair of costly errors that led to unearned runs in the first and second innings as the Colonels fell behind 2-0. However, Dempster took control the rest of the way. The Thibodaux native didn’t allow a runner to reach second base from the third through the sixth innings and fanned 16 Lion batters, bettering his previous career high of 11 set April 2 at UT Arlington.

With Dempster cruising through the Southeastern lineup, the Nicholls offense got to work. After managing just one base runner in the first two innings against Southeastern starter Brandon Efferson, the Colonels strung together a walk to Keith Kulbeth and singles by Kevin Schlegel and Adam Miley to load the bases with two outs in the third.

Beau Faulk, who extended his hitting streak to 12 games (a season high for a Colonel) delivered with a bases clearing triple to put Nicholls up 3-2.

The Colonels (22-19, 11-11 Southland) extended their lead in the fourth as Chase Jaramillo led off with a sharp single up the middle. Kasey Culverson reached base when Efferson committed an error on his sacrifice bunt. A passed ball put runners at second and third before an RBI ground out from Schlegel and an RBI single by Bear Comer made it 5-2.

The Lions (31-13, 13-9 Southland) threatened to get back into the game, as Dempster allowed his only earned run of the ballgame in the seventh inning. Josh Cryer drew a one-out walk, advanced to second on an infield hit by Phillip Freeman, took third as Cass Hargis grounded into a fielder’s choice, and came home to score on an RBI single by Justin Boudreaux. Fortunately, for the Colonels, Dempster regained his composure by retiring the next seven batters (four by strikeout) to shut down the Lions the rest of the way.

Dempster struck out eight of the nine starters in the Southeastern lineup.

With the win, the Colonels extended their winning streak to four games and put themselves in good position to claim their third consecutive series victory. Nicholls has won seven of its last eight games and has returned to the .500 mark in conference play for the first time since being 4-4 in league action following a March 27 win over Stephen F. Austin.

The Colonels will look to clinch their third consecutive Southland Conference series victory when the two teams head to Hammond for a noon first pitch at Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field in Hammond. The series finale is set for 1 p.m. at Ray E. Didier Field in Thibodaux.


UT Arlington 13, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 7
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – After trailing 7-3 through five innings, UT Arlington scored 10 unanswered runs to defeat Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 13-7 in the Southland Conference series opener Friday afternoon at Chapman Field.

Jordan Vaughn led the Mavericks (21-22, 14-8 Southland), going 5-for-6 with three RBI while Preston Beck went 3-for-6 with a double and four RBI in the victory. The Islanders (18-25, 8-14 Southland) used six pitchers that combined allowed 16 base hits and 10 walks in the loss.

UT Arlington right-handed pitcher Jason Mitchell pitched his fourth complete game of the season after striking out 10 batters in nine innings while allowing seven runs and scattering 12 hits. Mitchell has struck out at least 10 batters in consecutive starts and now has 93 strikeouts on the season, just 11 shy of tying the Mavericks single-season record (Nathan Long, 104 in 2009).

A&M-Corpus Christi scored a run in the first and tacked on five in the fourth inning on four base hits. UTA scored its first two runs with an RBI single from Brian Nephew in the second and with and RBI single from Preston Beck in the third inning.

Beck followed with an RBI double in the fifth inning before A&M-Corpus Christi made the score 7-3 on Caleb Marx’s first career home run to lead off the bottom of the fifth.

Jesse Payne led off the sixth inning with his fifth home run of the season to right field and Vaughn followed later in the inning with an RBI single through the right side to cut the Islanders’ lead to 7-5.

UTA broke the game open with a four-run seventh inning which brought nine batters to the plate. Vaughn again led the charge with a two-run single up the middle – his third hit in as many innings – to cap the seventh inning which gave UTA a 9-7 advantage.

Islanders’ reliever Jake Olier (0-1) was the losing pitcher allowing two runs on two hits in 2/3 innings on the hill.

Mitchell settled in allowing only three base runners, none of which advanced to second base, during the final four innings. Mitchell retired 11 of the final 14 Islanders from the sixth to ninth inning with only five balls leaving the infield.

The Mavericks posted four runs in the ninth inning on three base hits.

Cody Dyvig (2-for-5) led off the inning with a single through the right side. Vaughn, who reached base six times in the game, hit a fly ball to left field that was dropped by Marx which advanced Dyvig to third base.

That allowed A&M-Corpus Christi to walk Michael Choice for the third time in the game – second intentional walk – to load the bases for Beck with one out. Beck delivered a two-run single through the right side before he and Choice scored on Steffan Guest’s second double of the game, which was driven down the right-field foul line.

Guest went 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI, while Choice went 0-for-3 but scored a run and was walked three times. Choice leads the nation with 55 walks and now needs only six walks to tie the UTA single-season record (Dave Owen, 61 in 1978). He owns a school-record with 15 intentional walks this season which moves his career total to 20, which is also a career UTA record.

Choice has also now reached base safely in 55 consecutive games dating back to last season.

Vaughn became the first Maverick since 2006 to have five base hits in a game. Vaughn singled to center field in the first, had an infield single in the third, singled to right field in the fifth, singled through the right side in the sixth and singled up the middle in the seventh. The last UTA player with five hits was Ben Burum, who went 5-for-5 with three runs, three doubles and four RBI against McNeese State in Lake Charles, La. on April 15, 2006. Vaughn also tied a career-high with three RBI in the game.

The Mavericks’ 10 walks were a season-high and was the first time since 2008 (at UTSA, 3/30/08 – 14 walks) they had walked at least 10 times in a game.

UT Arlington and A&M-Corpus Christi will continue their conference series on Saturday at Chapman Field with a 2 p.m. scheduled first pitch.


Northwestern State 4, Central Arkansas 3
CONWAY, Ark. – Eric DeBlanc has been clutch for Northwestern State since taking over the reigns as the leadoff hitter 15 games ago.

His moment to shine on Friday night couldn’t have come at a better time as the left fielder smashed a two-out, two-strike, two-run home run over the left-center field wall in the top of the ninth inning to help give the Demons a 4-3 Southland Conference baseball win over Central Arkansas.

The victory was the second consecutive league win for the Demons as they improved to 27-15 overall and 14-7 in Southland play while UCA fell to 13-29 and 4-18 in league play.

Northwestern closer Chad Sheppard (1-0) picked up his first win of the season after he threw the final three innings of the game in relief work for starter Ryan Zimmerman. Sheppard gave up just one hit and a walk while fanning six of the 10 batters he faced.

Zimmerman was brilliant through five innings but was touched up for three runs, one earned, in the sixth when UCA came back from a 2-0 deficit to grab a 3-2 lead. He finished the game with 5.2 innings pitched and allowed six hits with two strikeouts.

Mason Melotakis helped stop the bleeding in the sixth when he got Fuller to ground out to end the inning and leaving two runners stranded.

Offensively, Northwestern put just seven hits on the board as the 6-9-hole hitters went a combined 0-for-12 in the game and leaving six of the seven runners stranded.

DeBlanc led the team at the plate with a 2-for-5 showing with two RBI and two runs scored. He lifted his season batting average to .388 and extended his career-long hitting streak to 15 games.

Tyler Baisley added a 2-for-4 game with a double as Oscar Garcia, Chase Lyles, and Adam Roy picked up the other three hits.

Trailing 3-2 heading into the ninth, Colin Bear reached first after his grounder up the middle was booted by UCA shortstop Kyle Prevett. Jacob Williford pinch-ran for Bear and moved up to second after a sacrifce bunt by Aaron Munoz. Stephen Gandy, who was pinch-hitting for Chris Hebert, struck out swinging for the second out of the inning and that set up DeBlanc’s game-winning homer with a strike from losing the series opener.

The Demons let several scoring opportunities slip away after scoring two runs in the top of the first inning to take a 2-0 lead.

In the fourth inning, Roy and Baisley hit back-to-back singles to start the inning then after Justin Martinez moved the runners up a bag on a sacrifice bunt, Bear walked to load the bases with one out but a strikeout by Munoz followed by a groundout by Hebert left all three runners stranded without a run crossing the plate.

DeBlanc ledoff the fifth inning with a double to left field but would stay stranded after the next three batters failed to move him around.

Another golden opportunity arose in the sixth inning when Baisley led off the frame with a double and Martinez followed with a walk to put runners at first and third with no outs after Baisley moved up to third on a passed ball.

Bear then hit an infield pop-up, Munoz fanned, and Hebert flied out to leave the runners parked at the bags.

The Bears grabbed a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth after Michael Pair hit a two-run home run to cap the scoring that began with back-to-back leadoff singles. After a throwing error by Zimmerman allowed UCA’s first run to score on a sacrifice bunt attempt, Andy Fox hit a sac bunt to move the runners up to second and third for the first out, then Munoz picked off Michael Marietta at third base in what should’ve been the third out of the inning.

But Zimmerman served up a 1-2 pitch to Pair that sailed over the center field wall to give the Bears a 3-2 lead.

Meanwhile, UCA starting pitcher Bobby Pritchett was cruising after the Demons threatened in the sixth inning and sat down nine straight Demon batters until he was lifted to begin the ninth inning by closer Michael Wild, who eventually took the loss to drop his record to 3-7.

The series continues Saturday with a 2 p.m. first pitch.


No. 30 Texas State 10 UTSA 0 (7 innings)
SAN MARCOS, Texas - Carson Smith tossed a two-hit, seven-inning shutout with seven strikeouts, while Jeff McVaney went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a solo home run to strengthen No. 30 Texas State’s all-around effort in a 10-0 run-rule victory over UTSA Friday night at Bobcat Field.

Smith (6-3) shut down the side in the first, third, fourth and fifth innings in order, including a fanned side in the fourth. The sophomore used 87 pitches and picked up Texas State’s first complete-game shutout since Zach Tritz tossed a 10-0 seven-inning win against Stephen F. Austin on March 28.

McVaney hit safely in his fourth-consecutive game tonight, putting Texas State on the board with a lead-off homer lined to left in the second frame. The sophomore followed up with a single and an RBI triple to support the team’s 12-hit effort.

Seven Bobcats offered hits in tonight’s game, including Daniel Neumann’s RBI single in the second that brought home Kyle Kubitza (walk) to make it a 2-0 game. Laurn Randell followed Neumann with a base hit through the left side to bring in Clint Vest (walk) and Bret Atwood closed out the Bobcats four-run inning with an RBI base hit to left.

Jason Martinson tacked on another run in the third with a double hit to right center and Kyle Livingstone extended the lead to 7-0 with a two-run home run, his sixth of the season, in the fourth inning.

Texas State (26-14, 16-6 Southland) roped in another run in the fifth and a pair of runs in the sixth to close out the victory.

UTSA (14-25, 5-17 Southland) had just two runners reach second base and left three stranded in the loss. Ryan Rummel and Jeff Taliaferro notched the pair of Roadrunner hits.

Casey Selsor took the loss, allowing seven runs off eight hits in 3.2 innings. The southpaw fell to 4-6 on the season.

The second game of the I-35 Rivalry Series is set for tomorrow, Saturday afternoon, at Bobcat Field. Michael Russo will take the mound for Texas State and first pitch is set for 2 p.m.


McNeese State 7, Lamar 3
LAKE CHARLES, La. – McNeese State right hander Dustin Lloyd shook off a couple of early rough innings and went on to pitch the Cowboys to a 7-3 Southland Conference baseball victory over Lamar Friday night.

The Cardinals scored one run in each of the first three innings – all on home runs – but then Lloyd took control and tossed blanks the rest of the way. He wound up relinquishing five hits on the game but only one after the third inning.

He also struck out 10 batters as he evened his record at 4-4 overall as McNeese moved into sole possession of sixth place in the league standings. The Cowboys are now 23-18 overall and 12-10 in league play while Lamar fell to 26-18 and 11-11.

The two teams will complete their three game series in Beaumont on Saturday in a twinbill that will begin at 2 p.m. Jaden Dillon (5-0) is slated to start on the mound for the Cowboys in the first game.

All three of Lamar’s runs were scored on solo home runs, those being hit by Andy Mena, Joe Latulippe and Quentin Luquette.

McNeese had a two run shot itself, that by catcher Jordan Venable in the second inning.

The Cowboys scored three runs in the fifth inning to take the lead for good and added two runs in the sixth for insurance.

A single by Lee Orr plated two runs in the fifth while the other scored on a single by Seth Granger.

In the sixth, both Cowboy runs scored on a Lamar throwing error.

Matison Smith, the Lamar starter, was the losing pitcher, hurling six innings of nine-hit, seven-run ball.

Leading the McNeese hitting attack were Jace Peterson and Venable with two hits each. Peterson also stole two bases, lifting his league leading total to 26.


Stephen F. Austin 11, Sam Houston State 2
HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Ryan Priest and Darren Crabtree each drove in four runs and Tyler Herriage threw six shutout innings as Stephen F. Austin opened up its weekend series with Piney Woods rival Sam Houston with an 11-2 win over the Bearkats Friday at Don Sanders Stadium.

Priest and Crabtree were joined by Bo Coffman’s two RBI to lead the offense for SFA (28-12, 14-7 Southland), which managed to score 11 runs despite just nine hits on the night against three Bearkat (17-26, 9-13 Southland) pitchers.

Herriage allowed just four hits and struck out five in picking up the win, bettering the Bearkats’ Dallas Gallant, who fell to 2-7 after allowing seven runs in 6.1 innings of work.

Gallant struggled with his command early on and gave the Lumberjacks a scoring opportunity in the second with a pair of walks to start the inning, and Darren Crabtree cashed in by taking a 3-1 pitch over the right-center field wall for a three-run homer that staked SFA to an early 3-0 lead.

SFA pushed across another pair of runs in the third with a pair of sacrifice flies from Ryan Priest and Bo Coffman to push the lead to 5-0, giving SFA plenty of cushion for the rest of the night.

Herriage retired 10 in a row at one point on his way to his seventh victory of the season, but meanwhile Gallant was cruising as well before getting into some trouble in the seventh. A single from Tanner Hines and a walk to Jarid Scarafiotti prompted Mark Johnson to go to the bullpen for Matt Shelton, who gave up a sacrifice fly to Priest as part of a two-run inning that pushed SFA’s lead to 7-0.

The Bearkats got a run back in both the seventh and eighth, but the ‘Jacks batted around in the top of the ninth for four runs to put the game out of reach. Each of the four runs came with two away, starting with Priest’s two-run double and followed by run-scoring hits by Coffman and Crabtree.

Jared West is slated to get the ball for SFA on Saturday, opposite Sam Houston’s Brandon Kimbrel. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.