ABILENE — The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (20-31, 17-22 SLC) completed the 2021 campaign on a high note, with a 9-3 road victory over Abilene Christian on Saturday at Crutcher Scott Field.
Finishing the series with a win after losing the opening three games, 13-3, 7-3 and 6-4, the finale was highlighted by a single-game record of 10 stolen bases. It was the most since SFA snagged nine on Feb. 27, 2011 against New Orleans.
SFA finishes the season in 10th place among 13 squads — the top eight squads advance to the SLC Postseason Tournament — in the league, producing an 8-22 record on the road and a 11-9 mark at home. The ’Jacks were 5-5 over the final 10 games of the 2021.
Here’s a look at the final three games of the series:
SFA 9, ACU 3 (Gm 4, Sat.) — Cameron Crawford clipped two bases on the day, complemented by Kyle Cullen, Skylar Black, Jordan Monacy, Cal Campbell, Jake Zarrello, Will Long, Chaney Dodge and Bryan Burgos each attaining one.
The ’Jacks made the first appearance on the scoreboard in the final game of the series, able to garner two runs in the top of the first inning to take a 2-0 lead. Skylar Black reached base on a throwing error by the ACU third baseman to bring home Kyle Cullen, then Black stole home for the second run of the game.
ACU put one run on the board in the bottom of the fifth to chip into SFA’s lead, but the ’Jacks converted on two more runs in the sixth due to Sean Moore reaching on a fielder’s choice, plus an RBI-single through the left side from Chaney Dodge.
After six complete, SFA held a 4-1 advantage.
Both teams strung together offensive stanzas in the seventh, kicked off by Black’s triple to center to bring home Crawford. The Wildcats responded in their half of the inning, tallying two runs off of a fielder’s choice and wild pitch.
Cameron Crawford’s two-run hit gave SFA a 7-3 lead in the top of the eighth, and Burgos stole home to tack on another run. A sacrifice fly to right from Clayton Loranger gave the Lumberjacks their final run of the year.
ACU 7, SFA 3 (Gm 1 of DH, Fri.) — Kyle Cullen garnered the lone RBI for the ’Jacks, notching a base hit to third to score Burgos in the sixth. Kade Clemens and Sean Moore both connected on a single and double to lead the team in total hits. Jake Zarrello singled up the middle in the third.
The Wildcats boosted a 7-0 advantage through five innings, capped by a two-run homer from Eager in the fourth.
In addition to the RBI-single from Cullen in the sixth, Cullen and Clemens scored unearned runs, advancing on a throwing error to cut the ACU lead to four, but the Wildcats held on in the seven-inning bout.
ACU 6, SFA 4 (Gm 2 of DH, Fri.) — ACU found two quick runs in the bottom of the second, but the ’Jacks took a 3-2 lead in the top of the third by scoring three runs on four hits.
In the top of the third, Chaney Dodge’s RBI-single scored Jake Evangelista, then Cal Martin pushed Dodge home, followed by Will Cerny singling to left to give Sean Moore the green light.
The Wildcats knotted the game in the bottom of the fifth, scoring on a wild pitch.
In the sixth, the ’Jacks stranded two while ACU converted on two runs from a pair of hits to enhance to lead to 5-3.
ACU extended the lead to 6-3 in the bottom of the seventh, and the ’Jacks responded with Clayton Loranger grounding out to second base to bring around Cerny as both teams completed their final offensive stanzas.