The SHSU baseball team scored a 15-1 victory over Prairie View A&M in its home opener yesterday. The Bearkats start their season with two wins, giving up only three hits.
Senior pitcher Jordan Tata pitched five shutout innings to set the tone for the Kats who are 2-0 to start the season.
“I’m very happy with the game,” Tata said. “I started off rusty, but I got stronger as the game went on.”
Tata said he hopes he can carry that strength over, giving the team a chance to compete against tougher opponents.
“I’m pleased with Jordan Tata,” said head coach Chris Rupp. “He’s got to be more consistent with getting the ball in the strike zone, but he’s a big asset for us.”
The Bearkats got on the board in the second inning with a three-run home run by Cory Whitlock making the score 3-0.
“That was real nice,” Rupp said.
Whitlock’s hit didn’t surprise Rupp, he said.
“Cory’s a big kid who needs to take advantage of his size and strength and be more aggressive,” Rupp said. “He put the barrel on the ball and got it out.”
Rupp said he expects more things like that from Whitlock.
“I was hoping the pitcher would throw the same pitch and he threw the exact same pitch,” Whitlock said. “It was a cheap home run, but we’ll take it. I mean that scraped the back of the wall, but it worked.”
In the third inning, Lou Ferrell hit a triple and scored the only run of the inning.
The Bearkats had an explosive fourth inning adding to their lead by scoring six runs. Brandon Foster bunted and reached second base and later scored along with Jeremy Locke. Ferrell’s double brought Phillip Weaver in for another run. Ferrell scored giving the Bearkats an 8-0 lead.
“The players showed a lot of discipline at the plate today,” Rupp said. “With a soft throwin’ lefty like they had, it’s hard to be patient but they waited on the ball and came up with the big hits when we needed to.”
Junior Ryan Herrera relieved Tata in the sixth inning and pitched the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. He balked in the sixth, giving Prairie View its only run of the game.
“Ryan went out there and competed real well,” Rupp said, “He has things to work on as well, but I’m looking forward to great things from him.”
Jonathon Stone scored the only run in the seventh inning and the last run of the game for SHSU.
Sophomore Zach Adkisson pitched the final inning for the Kats, striking out two of the three Panthers he faced.
“Starting out with two wins like that and scoring a lot of runs is great for the hitters’ confidence,” Rupp said. “With a long season, any early wins you can get are really good.”
With a seven game stretch against Oklahoma, University of Texas and Texas A&M coming up, good wins get the team ready for better competition, Rupp said.
“This win was pretty big with such a hard schedule,” Ferrell said. “It’s good to build on, and with Texas next weekend, we needed a few wins under our belt.”
The Bearkats started the season with a 10-0 victory in Houston on Tuesday. Second year senior Nathan Boyd got SHSU in the win column by pitching a one-hit shutout against Texas Southern.
“I’m very pleased with Nathan’s performance,” Rupp said, “He had a no hitter into the eighth inning.”
“It was a great start to a great season,” Boyd said. “Defensively we were great, offensively we struggled a little bit, but we’ll fix that as the season progresses.”
Boyd, who returned this season after a shoulder surgery, said he was pleased with his performance.
“I’m the type of person, though, who was a little disappointed that I didn’t get a no hitter,” Boyd said. “I’m glad to be back.”
With a 2-0 start to the season, the Kats are looking forward to continued success.
“It’s nice to be 2-0 for once,” said Tata. “Hopefully we’ll keep on winning.”
The Bearkats face Concordia Lutheran at home on Sunday at 2 p.m. Rupp and the team urge everyone to come out and support them..