Sam Houston States starting pitchers continued to toss strong outings against Arkansas State, but still struggle to gain support from the bullpen late in games.
Despite winning the series with an 8-1 win Saturday and 11-6 Sunday, SHSUs relievers gave up eight of ASUs 11 runs this weekend, straining the Bearkats lineup.
Three Bearkat relievers circulated in the eighth inning of game one, allowing two runs, two walks and two hits to open up an ASU rally to clench game one. Coach David Pierce accredits the bullpens slump to insecurity of pitches.
I dont want to get to a point where were compensating, weve got to throw strikes and thats the bottom line, Pierce said. Weve just got to get better and a little bit more relaxed out of the bullpenTheyre just going to have to relax.
In games two and three, starting pitchers Cody Dickson and Andrew Godail silenced the Red Wolves lineup while the Bearkats hot bats continued to rally strong in early innings to take the series.
I think the best thing about [Dickson] is that hes competing right now and hes competing well, Pierce said. He threw a lot of fastballs and he threw the ball best to his glove side. All together he gave us a chance to win.
Of the 16 pitchers on the active roster, seven freshmen fill the role of relievers. According to Pierce, repetition and practice will develop trust in the freshmen and their pitches to become frequent arms throughout the season.
What were trying to do is get our guys in an opportune time to eventually be contributors, Pierce said.
Offensively SHSU wore out ASUs pitching with multiple extra base hits and executing situational hitting at-bats.
Shortstop Carter Burgess hit 3-4 against the Red Wolves Sunday with two doubles and a triple to spark multiple run rallies in the second and sixth innings. Centerfielder Colt Atwood fed off Carters streak to break a hitless game with a single to drive in Burgess to give SHSU a 7-4 lead. A series of singles drove in Atwood and second basemen Ryan Farney to close the bottom of the sixth with a 9-4 lead.
I saw more pitches Ive seen in the past working the counts and I was getting my pitch and hitting them hard, Burgess said. When [there are] runners on base you dont want to press too much and you know I got lucky to get into counts that were favorable and I was able to drive the ball and drive the guys in.
SHSUs offense gained momentum early Sunday with a solo homerun from Spence Rahm off a hanging curveball to begin the inning.
The Bearkats will travel to Rice University to face off against the Owls Wednesday. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.
Pierce and company will return to Huntsville for a three game home series against the University of Connecticut with game one starting on Friday.