The big inning once again bit Seattle University, as Texas State scored five runs in the fourth inning and held on for a 7-5 victory over the Redhawks Friday afternoon in Western Athletic Conference baseball action at Bobcat Ballpark.
Ben Ruff (Fife, Wash.) led off the third inning with a single, and Chase Fields (Ontario, Ore.) would single to right field with one out. Ryan Somers (Sammamish, Wash.) hit a ground ball up the middle, but the throw from Bobcat pitcher Scott Grist to second base was off target, allowing Ruff to come around and score and Fields to advance to third base. Nate Roberts (Silverdale, Wash.) laid down a perfect squeeze bunt, scoring Fields to put the Redhawks ahead, 2-0.
Texas State (11-15, 4-1 WAC) would start its comeback in the bottom of the third inning when J.D. Stinnett singled. Kevin Sah hit a hard shot to third base that Ruff corralled, but his throw to second to cut down Stinnett was wide, allowing Stinnett to reach third. Stinnett would score on a sacrifice fly to center field by Cody Lovejoy, cutting the Redhawk lead in half.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Austin O’Neal led off with a walk and came around to score on a double down the left field line by Nick Smelser. Colby Targun followed with his second home run in as many days, a two-run shot over the wall in right field. A walk drawn by Morgan Mickan would end the day for Redhawk starter Garrett Anderson (Kennewick, Wash.), and Mickan would steal second and come around to score on a double by Sah. Off Seattle U reliever Skyler Genger (Kent, Wash.), Lovejoy would trade places with Sah with his own double, increasing the Bobcat lead to 6-2.
The Redhawks chipped away at the lead, starting in the fifth inning when Fields singled up the middle, stole second base, and scored on a single up the middle hit by Roberts. In the sixth inning, pinch hitter Steve Kirbach (Kirkland, Wash.) singled, and Cash McGuire (Kent, Wash.) followed with his first career collegiate home run, a two-run blast to left field, to bring Seattle U to within one run at 6-5.
Connor Moore (West Richland, Wash.) would work himself into a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the sixth with a walk and two hit batters, but he induced a groundout to end the Bobcat threat. Seattle U loaded the bases in the seventh inning when Fields and Somers notched back-to-back singles and Grant Newton (Bend, Ore.) followed with a grounder that was mishandled, loading the bases. However, Bobcat reliever Donnie Hart induced a double play groundball that curtailed the Redhawk comeback attempt.
Targun would score an insurance run in the seventh inning as he led off with a walk, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, reached third base on a wild pitch, and scored on a sacrifice fly hit to right field by Mickan. The Redhawks put two runners on base in the eighth inning, but Texas State closer Hunter Lemke notched a strikeout to end the Seattle U threat.
In the ninth inning, Somers led off with a single, and Newton singled with one out to put two runners on base. Lemke settled down, inducing a flyout and a groundout to end the game and pick up his second save in as many games.
Anderson took the loss for Seattle U after giving up four hits, three walks, and five runs, four of them earned, in 3 1/3 innings of work. Grist was credited with the victory despite allowing nine hits and five runs in five innings on the mound, plus the first two batters of the sixth inning.
The Redhawks lost despite accumulating 14 hits in the game, led by Fields and McGuire with 3-for-5 offensive performances each. Somers and Roberts collected two hits apiece, but Seattle U left 10 men on base and hit into two double plays. Lovejoy and Stinnett led Texas State with 2-for-3 efforts at the plate, and the Bobcats were helped by nine walks allowed by Seattle U pitching.
Seattle University (10-15, 2-3 WAC) will look to salvage the final game of the series Saturday, March 30, as the Redhawks face the Bobcats starting at 11 a.m. local time (9 a.m. Pacific time). Seattle U will finally return to Bannerwood Park for a six-game homestand, starting Tuesday, April 2, against Washington at 6 p.m.