Baseball splits non-conference games

Sam Houston baseball took a break from their conference schedule this week to take on the Centenary Gents and the Abilene Christian Wildcats.The Kats hoped to use the weekday games to put last weekends sweep at the hands of Southwest Texas behind them.”We needed to go out and work on the things we haven’t been doing very well,” said Bearkat right fielder Jeremy Locke. “Get back to the fundamentals and start playing like we had been. We need to come out with some pep in these weekday games and carry that momentum into the weekend.”On Tuesday, second baseman Lou Ferrell’s three run home run in the second inning was all the Kats needed to beat the Gents 7-2. Ferrell, who went two for three on the day, also picked up an RBI single in the fourth inning.Sam Houston pitcher Dustin Craig (1-1) picked up the win for the Kats, giving up just two hits and striking out five batters in five innings of work. Ryan Myers pitched in relief of Craig, giving up three hits and two runs in four innings.Wednesday afternoon, the Kats fell to the Wildcats 7-4.Abilene Christian got out to a quick start as leadoff hitter Oscar Vargas hit a towering home run over the scoreboard in left field to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead. The solo shot was the first of four ACU home runs on the day.The Bearkats got on the board in the third inning when Ferrell’s two run triple knocked in Brandon Foster and Marshall Williams with a cutting to Wildcats lead to 4-2.A three-run homer in the fifth inning by ACU third baseman Ryan Barker put the Wildcats up 7-2.A ninth inning leadoff home run by Locke seemed to start a rally for the Kats, who then loaded the bases with only one out. However, Sam was only able to pick up one more run when Abilene pitcher Shawn Brooks balked in Phillip Weaver to make the score 7-4.”Today we had a lot of hits that were just at-’em balls,” Locke said. “We had some line-drive outs and hard ground balls that were just hit right at them, and they made some good plays. When you’re struggling and that sort of stuff happens, you just don’t know what to do.”The Kats take on conference front-runner Northwestern State this weekend, and Locke said the Kats have to put last weekends sweep behind them and play baseball the way they know how.”We have to go in to this weekend with a positive attitude and start playing like we were at the beginning of conference,” Locke said. “If we dwell on what happened last week, it will hurt us. We just have to go out and play the kind of ball we know how to play and hope to pull it out.”Kats pitcher Jeff Vanlandingham said the team needs to play better in all areas of the game if they want to beat the Demons.”We have to come out as a team,” Vanlandingham said. “We have to play hard. The pitching has to come around and throw more strikes and our hitters need to hit more strikes.”This is going to be a big weekend,” he said. “We need to win this series to put us back into a chance to win the conference later in the year.”

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