Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bulldogs suffer 8-5 setback against San Jacinto College...

Bulldogs suffer 8-5 setback against San Jacinto College

BRENHAM, Texas—The long ball has put Texarkana College behind the 8-ball.

Pre-tournament favorite San Jacinto College cracked five home runs en route to an 8-5 victory over the Bulldogs Monday in a battle of unbeatens in the Region XIV baseball tournament at Blinn College.

The loss leaves TC in the position of having to win three straight games, including two today, to win the regional title and JUCO World Series berth. The Bulldogs face the winner of Monday’s late game between Navarro and Blinn at 1 p.m. today. If they survive that contest, they will get San Jacinto at 5 and will have to beat the Gators to force a final game at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Texarkana (39-14) managed just one run after loading the bases with one out in the top of the first inning, and the Gators started their home run barrage in the bottom of the frame with back-to-back-to-back shots off the bats of Steven Vidaurri, Devin Shines and Ryan Burnaman. A double and stolen base by Zachary Benson and an RBI single by Danny Hernandez made it 5-1 and finished starter Zach Fowler after one inning and 46 pitches.

“The first five innings of the game were very intense,” said TC coach Will Bolt. “I thought we were extremely ready to go, and we got a run in that first inning, but should have probably put up a crooked number there. Then they answered back in the bottom of the inning.”

Left-handed starter David Rollins, who opposed Liberty-Eylau’s Fowler in the 2006 prep playoffs while pitching for Carthage, managed to survive a 3-run Bulldog second inning, pitching through the seventh to earn the win. He threw 130 pitches before leaving after walking the leadoff batter in the eighth.

“It’s hard to play from behind, and our guys battled back to make a game of it,” said Bolt. “We had some baserunners on, but every time he (Rollins) got out of jam he got a little more confidence. He made some adjustments, and so did we. We just missed out on some opportunities late in the game.

The Bulldogs loaded the bases in the eighth against relievers Jeff Abt and Tommy Collier, but got only one run on Austin Atwell’s infield hit. But the runner coming from second was caught rounding third and tagged in a rundown to end the threat.

Brian Ellis led off the ninth with an infield single, but was picked off first base by the catcher. Collier, who reportedly threw 130 pitches in a Saturday night start, then retired the next two batters to end the game.

Rollins, who wild-pitched a run home in the first before striking out the last two batters, ran into a jam in the second when the bottom of the TC batting order started a 3-run rally. Jordy Snikeris singled, Lance Marvel doubled over the third-base bag, and Jake Rogers spanked an RBI single to right.

Trey Buck’s double to left-center plated Marvel, and Rogers scored the third run when Atwell sent the center fielder to the fence to snag his sacrifice fly. But Rollins again got the next two batters to limit the damage.

If there was a bright spot for the Bulldogs, it was the work of the bullpen. Shane Cole retired the first eight batters he faced before Deric Hawkins smacked a home run to right-center. A walk and

Gregg Alcazar’s 2-run homer to center with two outs in the fifth made it 8-4.

Brittan Diamond pitched 1 2/3 innings and Colton Reavis 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.

“After the first five innings of the game I thought we pitched pretty good,” Bolt said. “Shane had his moments when he was good, but the two-run homer was big. But Diamond and Reavis came in and did a good job. They gave us a chance to come back in the game, and I sure felt to the very end that we were going to come back and win.”

The Bulldogs outhit the Gators 10-8, but the only extra-base hits were the doubles by Marvel and Buck. Snikeris and Marvel were the only TC players with two hits.

Bolt said first-game starter John Stilson, who threw six innings and 61 pitches Saturday, would start today’s 1 p.m. game.

Texarkana College 130 000 010 — 5 10 0

San Jacinto College 500 120 00x — 8 8 0

Zach Fowler, Shane Cole (2), Brittan Diamond (6), Colton Reavis (7) and Jordy Snikeris. David Rollins, Jeff Abt (8), Tommy Collier (8) and Gregg Alkazar. WP-Rollins (8-3). LP-Fowler (6-5). HR: SJC-Steven Vidaurri, 1st, 1 on; Devin Shines, 1st, none on; Ryan Burnaman, 1st, none on; Deric Hawkins, 4th, none on; Alcazar, 5th, 1 on.