The Bearkats snapped a five-game losing streak, but still lost the series 2-1 when they faced the Lamar University Cardinals last weekend in Huntsville.
The losing streak began on March 21, when the team lost to Louisiana-Monroe. They lost three to ULM, one to the University of Houston and one to Lamar before beating Lamar 6-3 in the second game of a three-game series.
Before heading to College Station to play the Aggies, the Bearkats wanted to get some momentum going, and Sunday’s series closer would be key in determining how they enter Aggieland today.
Unfortunately for the Bearkats, the game would end with them on the bottom of an 8-6 contest.
The game began in favor of Sam Houston, when the top of the Bearkat order, Brandon Foster, Jeremy Holzbach and Lou Ferrell, got on base and scored, putting the Bearkats up to a first inning 3-0 lead.
After seven innings, the score was tied at five. The pace of the game changed when Lamar leftfielder Jordan Foster crushed a three run homer to give the Cardinals a considerable lead. The Bearkats tried to rally, but were only able to drive in one run in the final two innings.
“We played tough,” Bearkat coach Chris Rupp said. “We just didn’t get it done at the right time. We got two outs with nobody on in (the eighth) inning. We hit a guy; we walked a guy and then left a slider up.”
Things should have gone in the Bearkats’ favor with the phenomenal pitching effort put forth by all four pitchers. When the game ended, Bearkat pitchers struck out a total of 12 batters, with starter Zach Adkisson leading the way.
Adkisson left the game after pitching 4 1/3 innings and striking out five. In the first and third innings, he was forced to face the top of Lamar’s order, and both times he retired all three batters.
“My curveball was really working today, and a lot of guys were chasing it in the dirt,” Adkisson said after Sunday’s game. “But I was having trouble spotting my fastball. The umpire was squeezing me, but the curveball was mainly what got me out of all my jams.”
Also for the Bearkats, Nathan Osterman left the game with three strikeouts and both Dustin Craig and Ryan Herrera struck out two. Lamar centerfielder Shaun Stanton was the biggest victim of Bearkat pitching, finding himself on the wrong end of four of those strikeouts.
Despite putting forth an impressive day on the mound, the Cardinals were able to take full advantage of their 10 hits, two of which were home runs.
“We just found a way to lose today,” Rupp said. “We came out playing good and I thought we did a pretty good job. I thought for the most part, we controlled the game, and then we just let it get away at the end.”
The Bearkats found themselves on base with 11 hits and seven walks, but unlike their opponents, could not capitalize on it.
Brandon Foster and Holzbach, who combined for a total of two hits, one run and one RBI in 15 at bats during the first two games of the series, turned things up for game three. The duo totaled in six hits, three runs and one RBI with nine at bats in the loss.
“When Foster’s playing good, it seems like we always have a chance and we’re always in the game,” Rupp said. “He’s been a great lead-off hitter for us this year. He’s been consistent and he’s doing a great job.”
Sunday’s closer was very similar to Saturday’s Bearkat win, but the roles were reversed.
The Bearkats went into the fourth inning of the game down by a score of 3-0.
The Bearkats started a slow, steady comeback, scoring a run in each of the next four innings. They were blanked in the seventh inning, but in the eighth, they decided to seal the deal in a big way.
Jeremy Locke grabbed hold of the game by drilling a two-run shot over the left field fence to put the Bearkats up by two. Then, just to finish putting the icing on the cake, Dom Garcia knocked a solo home run to close the game with a 6-3 Bearkat victory.
Craig was credited with the win after no-hitting the Cardinals in 1 2/3 innings pitched. Caleb Rodgers also had an impressive night, allowing only four hits and one run, while striking out two in 4 2/3 innings pitched.
The win broke a Bearkat losing streak, which was brought to five in the first game of the series, which Lamar won 6-3.
The Bearkats were having trouble with their bats Friday, being out hit by the Cardinals 11-7. Andrew Kasparek and Patrick Penry were the only Bearkats with more than one hit.
Starter Jordan Tata had a decent afternoon on the mound, pitching 7 2/3 innings and giving up three runs off of nine hits, while striking out six, but the offense could not give him a comfortable lead, or any lead, for that matter. The Bearkat offense never held a lead throughout the game and was able to tie it in the eighth inning, before Rodgers and
Osterman gave up three runs in the ninth.
Looking back at the series, Rupp is glad that his team was able to snap their losing streak, but losing two out of three is never a good thing.
“It’s a positive any time you break a losing streak,” Rupp said. “But we lost two out of three, and that is not a positive.”
The Bearkats will be traveling to Texas A&M on Tuesday to play the Aggies. Game time will be at 7 p.m.