SHSU drops three in Baseball Classic

There is no denying this simple fact: the Bearkat baseball team is on fire.

After starting the season with a 5-0 streak with four wins over Creighton, and another victory over Prairie View A&M, the team turned its sights to the Sam Houston Baseball Classic tournament.

Through the first five games of the season, it was pitching that held the team together. While only giving up 19 runs in the first five games, the Bearkat pitching staff they always gave their team a chance to win.

“Getting the season started, you never know what you’re going to have,” said head coach Mark Johnson. “But early in the season a proven pitcher is going to beat the hitters.”

When the team entered the Baseball Classic, their level of competition stepped up. Missouri State, who had appeared in the College World Series in 2003, and Nebraska, who has appeared in the CWS three times since 2001, were both big names entering the tournament.

On opening night, SHSU’s luck came to an end. Saint Mary’s big right handed pitcher Brian Justice shut down the bats, as the Gaels rolled to an easy victory of 14-5.

Dallas Gallant, who started opening night for the Bearkats, was put in a rocky position, giving up five runs in five innings along with 10 hits.

The Bearkats tried to reverse their luck Saturday in their first game of the double header.

However, because there were starting the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, a team who has made a big name for themselves recently and has produced players like Joba Chamberlain and Eric Gordon, that task would not be easy.

The Bearkats matched up with Nebraska ace Mike Nesseth who had his way with the Kats, shutting them down in six innings work, allowing three hits and zero runs.

The Kats faltered not only with their bats, but with their defense, as they allowed 15 runs to the Cornhuskers and fell to an 8-1 loss.

“Nebraska’s number one [Nesseth] is probably going to be a number one draft pick,” said Johnson. “We faced Saint Mary’s Number One as well. We got to see some good pitching.”

After taking two straight losses, the Kats needed to rebound and they found that spark in a late night game.

While playing Missouri State in a game that lasted into Sunday morning, the Bearkats were able to stay patient with their hitting, walking 14 times and acquiring six errors from the Bears.

Freshman pitcher Cody Aycock for MSU had four walks before being pulled in the fifth.

The Bearkats pitching looked crisp early on as Jordan Westra took a no-hitter into the fourth. SHSU exploded in the seventh inning with six runs, putting the game firmly out of MSU’s grasp and locking in a 15-11 win.

Another loss on Sunday to Saint Mary’s sealed the tournament though, as Nebraska left the winner.

“Hitting-wise we could have done better,” said Johnson. “But I never thought we were in the wrong ball park; I think we could play with all of those teams.”

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