After a lopsided 13-4 victory over Nicholls State (11-24, 4-11 SLC) Friday evening, Sam Houston State University (18-16, 9-6 SLC) lost its power on the mound and dropped the final two games of the series to the Colonels, 10-9, 5-4. Despite driving in 26 runs in three games, the Bearkat pitching staff allowed 19 hits, enough to give Nicholls State the series.
Starting pitcher Timothy Gray (5-1) exhibited his signature dominance on the mound and held the Colonels hitless through the first three innings of game one to bring home the win. Gray went on a four-game winning streak in the beginning of the season and currently holds the most wins of any pitcher on the SHSU roster.
Yet in the bottom of the fourth inning, Gray gave up his only runs of the game as Nicholls State knocked in four runs with help from a pair of errors from Gray and shortstop Matt Fry.
Third baseman Daniel Cox led off the fifth inning with a single to centerfield and used a double from catcher Adam Perry to get into scoring position. A wild pitch from the Colonels Michael Bartek enabled Cox to put the first Bearkat run on the board.
Gray prevented the Colonels from scoring any more runs before retiring in the ninth inning, allowing the offense ample time to even the score.
Down 4-1, the Bearkats tacked on two more runs in the top of the sixth off a single from first baseman Karl Krailo and a sacrifice fly from Fry.
After a scoreless seventh inning, the Bearkat offense scored two more runs off two hits in the eighth to take the 5-4 lead.
The Bearkats finally ran away with the win in the top of the ninth as the offense exploded with nine hits and eight runs to finalize the deal.
Nick Zaleski took over right field for Dustin Martin in the eighth and sparked the offensive show in the ninth with a single up the middle. Krailo doubled in the next-at bat to put Zaleski in scoring position followed by a trio of singles from Cox, shortstop Aaron Cook and DH Gregory O’Neill to bring three SHSU runs across the plate. After a double-steal by Cook and DH Gregory O’Neill, left fielder Tyson Mire doubled up the middle to score both runners.
With a convincing 10-4 lead, the SHSU offense pounded in three more runs off singles from Zaleski and centerfielder Jeremy Holzbach.
Luke Prihoda took the mound in the bottom of the ninth and held the Colonels to just one hit and no runs to put the game away, 13-4.
Despite the excellent pitching produced by Gray in the first game of the series, the rest of the SHSU pitching staff fared much worse. Unlike his excellent close in game one, Prihoda (3-4) was unable to get the job done in game two, giving up four hits and two runs for the loss in the final three innings. Starter Zach Adkisson (3-1) suffered his first loss of the season by giving up 12 hits and five runs.