Bearkats Drop Battle Of The Piney Woods Opener

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NACOGDOCHES - A three-run home run from Kevin Crabtree fueled a five-run sixth inning, sending Stephen F. Austin's run total to 10 as the Lumberjacks defeated the Sam Houston State Bearkats 10-5 Thursday afternoon in a the first game of a key Southland Conference match-up. The win moves the Lumberjacks league record to 16-12 and their overall record now stands at 29-24. The Bearkats' overall record is now 33-21 with a 17-11 conference mark.

Sam Houston was the first to score, going ahead 1-0, in the first inning when Clint Mann led off with a double down the right field line. He moved to second on a center field fly-out from Keith Stein and moved to third when Bobby Verbick grounded out. Mann then crossed the plate on a Karl Krailo single.

SFA, however, responded in its first at-bat of the game. Zach Gardner was on second base when Chris Smith put a single through the left side to send Gardner across the dish, knotting the score at one.

The Lumberjacks jumped ahead in the third when Steven Hill was issued a lead-off walk. He moved over to second when Smith hit his second-consecutive base hit of the game. Hill moved to third on Jared Pitts' fly out and Kevin Crabtree earned his first of four RBI when he singled up the middle to send Hill across the plate. Smith moved to third on Crabtree's hit and scored on a sacrifice fly from Noel Trevino to give SFA the 3-1 advantage.

The Bearkats threatened in the fifth, scoring one run to cut the Lumberjacks lead to 3-2. SFA fared well, distancing themselves by two runs, scored off three hits, in the bottom of the same inning.

Then, after Sam Houston scored another run to cut the lead to one once again, the Lumberjacks rallied for five runs in the sixth inning to extend their lead by seven. It all started with a Bearkat pitching change as Zac Baker came in for starter Jacob Howard. With one out, Gardner singled up the middle. Then, with two outs, Hill hit a triple to center field for the RBI. Smith then singled through the left side for his third hit of the day, sending Hill home. Pitts then put a base hit in right field to send Smith to third. Then Crabtree hit his sixth home run of the season into dead center field to give the Lumberjacks a 10-3 lead.

Sam Houston scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh as the 10-5 score was the eventual final.

Crabtree led both sides with four RBI as Smith's three hits were the game high. Hill was 2-for-3 with an RBI and three runs scored.

Jared Schrom earned his fifth win of the season after giving up five runs off eight hits in 6.1 innings. He had five strikeouts on the night as did Richard Folmer who pitched 2.2 innings of relief work. For the Bearkats, Howard fell to 10-5 on the year, as he gave up five runs off seven hits in five complete innings.

The series will continue Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. at Jaycees Field. Saturday's game will wrap up the 2007 regular season as the first Lumberjack senior class since the return of baseball will be honored prior to the 1 p.m. contest.