A sacrifice fly from the bat of Jesse Plumlee upset nationally ranked Texas A&M 9-8 in extra innings Tuesday night at Don Sanders Stadium.
The Bearkats victory over the Aggies continued SHSU’s competitive play against NCAA Top 25 teams. This was their sixth win against nationally ranked teams.
Led off by a single from Hayden Simerly, Plumlee drove in pinch runner Wyatt Powell to secure a Bearkat victory in the bottom of the 11th.
“Fortunately [Powell] got the stolen base, he can really run. We continued to put the pressure on with [O’Hearn’s] hustle play,” Coach David Pierce said. “[Plumlee] is the best guy right there. I think Jesse was the guy that needed to be at home plate for us.”
Simerly’s frozen rope over right field for a three run homer sparked Sam Houston State to hold a four run rally. Simerly approached the batter’s box following a single from Kevin Miller to advance Carter Burgess to third base with a tight 3-1 lead over the Aggies. Simerly’s homer drove in Miller and Burgess and set the stage for Luke Plucheck and Romeo Cortina with a pair of doubles to drive in another run for a 7-1 lead into the fifth.
TAMU sent the game into extra innings capitalizing off a fielding error from Miller in the top of the ninth. Aggie first baseman Hunter Melton singled into center to drive in left fielder Brandon Wood to even the scoreboard 8-8.
Bearkat starter Tyler Eppler tossed five complete innings, allowing four runs from five hits but received little support in the bullpen from the arms of Jason Simms and Michael Burchett, who allowed four runs in three and two third innings.
Despite allowing TAMU to close SHSU’s comfortable lead, Pierce said he’s happy with the bullpen’s performance going into the weekend.
Although an early homerun for Aggie catcher Troy Stein in the top of the second wasn’t enough ground for TAMU to hold, the Aggies rallied in the sixth and seventh to narrow SHSU’s lead 8-7 before tying up in the top of the ninth.
Stein connected for a pair of singles in the sixth and seventh to support the Aggie rally with a single RBI.
Alan Scott picked up his first win of the season shutting out TAMU in extra innings.
According to Pierce, Tuesday’s win revamped the struggling Bearkat squad after dropping their first conference series to Lamar.
“It’s very big for our team and our team chemistry because we had a rough weekend. It’s going to be about maturity tonight,” Pierce said.
SHSU will square off against Oral Robert for a three-game conference series at Don Sanders Stadium with game one Friday at 6:30 p.m.