In a season that began with the hope of improvement and success, the SHSU baseball team still has a lot of questions to be answered.
The Bearkats were swept for the first time this season in a three-game series at home against conference foe Lamar in what could have been a redeeming series against a formidable competitor.
With the loss, the Bearkats drop to 8-7 in conference play and a tie with Stephen F. Austin for third place in the West division of the SLC.
After the first game was postponed on Friday due to rain, the Bearkats opened the series with a double-header on Saturday.
Jesse Marshall (6-3) took the mound for the Bearkats in game one and pitched five innings, giving up four runs on five hits for the loss.
Jon Lindenburger took the mound in the top of the sixth and allowed five runs on seven hits throughout the remainder of the game.
In the second game of the series, the Cardinals were less potentate at the plate yet still held the Bearkats back for the 8-7 victory.
Jacob Howard (7-3) started on the mound for the Bearkats and allowed seven hits and 11 runs in six innings. Howard’s performance earned him the loss for the game, though his 7-3 record remains the best on the team this season.
Casey Springer picked up for the Bearkats in the top of the seventh and pitched 1 1/3 innings while giving up just two hits and one run.
Prihoda, who currently holds the team’s lowest ERA at 0.95, entered the game in the top of the eight and held the Cardinals to one hit and no runs to close the game for the Bearkats.
Despite carrying the teams’ best win-loss record, Howard picked up the loss for the Bearkats, just his third of the season.
While the Bearkat pitching staff relinquished 14 hits throughout the game, the Sam Houston State offense held their end of the deal by driving in seven runs on nine hits.
After going 0-for-4 in game one, first baseman Karl Krailo led the Bearkats in game two with a 3-for-5 performance including three singles and three RBI’s.
Bobby Verbick, consistantly the Bearkat’s biggest threat on offense, was effectively shut down by the Lamar pitching staff as the junior DH went 0-3, including two walks and a strikeout in the bottom of the third.
In the final game of the series, the Bearkats were able to hold the Cardinals to their lowest score of the season yet still couldn’t muster enough runs for the win.
Tim Gray started on the mound for the Bearkats and gave up four runs on eight hits before being replaced in the top of the fifth with Luke Prihoda.
Prihoda (2-2) pitched 4 1/2 innings and allowed just one run and two hits for the loss.
The Cardinals starting pitcher, Brian Sisk, pitched a complete game for his seventh win of the season.
While the unexpected sweep drops the Bearkats to four wins behind second-place Texas State (27-12, 12-3 SLC) and five wins behind front-runner Texas- San Antonio (21-15, 13-2 SLC), the Sam Houston State still faces five conference series and five shots at redemption before the conference tournament set for May 24-26.
Following a trip to Prairie View A&M tonight, the Bearkats are scheduled to travel to McNeese State for a three-game series set to begin at 7 p.m. on Friday.
After the five-game road trip, the Sam Houston State team is scheduled to return home April 27 for a three-game series against current conference leader Texas- San Antonio.