Feb 15, 2014 10:00 AM by Greg Smith
SAN MARCOS, Texas - Air Force baseball rallied back from a 9-7 deficit to down Washington 14-9 in its 2014 season-opener Friday at the Texas State Invitational at Bobcat Ballpark. The Falcons scored the final seven runs of the game and got a big relief outing from freshman Nathan Stanford for the win.
With four freshmen in the starting lineup and three additional new starters, the new-look Falcons played like seasoned veterans. The Falcons were clutch with two outs, batting .533 (8-for-15) with 11 RBIs.
The Falcons had 14 hits on the day with eight going for doubles. Freshman leftfielder Tyler Jones went 3-for-5 in his debut with two doubles four RBIs. All of Jones' hits and RBIs came with two outs. Senior first baseman Seth Kline added a pair of doubles in a 3-for-5 day.
Freshman second baseman Adam Groesbeck reached base three times, via walk and two hit-by-pitches, scoring two runs in his debut. Freshman designated hitter Griffin Jax had a double, two walks and scored three runs in his collegiate debut. Air Force also started a freshman at shortstop in Russell Williams.
The Falcons also had two hits and two runs scored by sophomore rightfielder Spencer Draws. Junior centerfielder David Thomas had two hits and two RBIs. Junior catcher Brian Sicher went 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs.
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Senior Cameron White pitched six innings, striking out five in the start for the Falcons. White started out the game on roll, not allowing a base hit until the fourth inning. He ended the day allowing five runs. Sophomore lefthander Trent Monaghan also pitched in relief for the Falcons.
Washington got on the scoreboard first with a run in the fourth inning. The Falcons responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning. The Huskies tied the game up in the top of the sixth with two runs. Air Force responded with four runs in the bottom of the inning to go back up 7-3.
Washington erupted for six runs in the seventh to pull back ahead 9-7. Not to be outdone, the Falcons came right back with two runs in the bottom of the inning to tie the game back up.
The Falcons pushed across five runs in the eighth to jump back ahead. Sicher scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball.
Stanford (1-0), who came into get the final out of the seventh inning, retired all seven batters he faced in the game. The righthander struck out four in his first-career win.
Washington had 11 hits in the game. Leftfielder Robert Pehl led the Huskies at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs. Starting pitcher Zach Wright pitched five innings, allowing five runs. Trevor Dunlap (0-1) took the loss in relief.
Air Force takes on Michigan in its next game. First pitch tomorrow is slated for 6 pm.
Bird Bites: Falcons started four freshmen (Groesbeck 2B, Jax DH, Jones LF, Williams SS) and used five total in the game (RHP Stanford...Air Force is now 3-1 all-time vs. Washington and has won the last two meetings...Air Force won its season-opener for the first time since 2011, in a 7-2 win over Missouri State...the Falcons are now 33-25 all-time in season openers.