Bearkat baseball falls to Oral Roberts, 8-4

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Sam Houston State baseball sits with a 9-6 conference record, losing their top three ranking in the Southland Conference standings after dropping two of three games against Oral Roberts this weekend.

Starting pitching was once again a problem against the Golden Eagles with another short outing from Bearkat ace Cody Dickson. He lasted one-third of an inning, allowing six runs in game one’s 8-4 loss.

Dickson issued three walks and gave up two hits for an ORU rally before Michael Burchett came in relief with the bases loaded and down 3-0. Burchett gave up a single up the middle for two runs, supplemented by a squeeze play for another run.

After strong early season performances, Dickson’s ERA has quickly jumped from a respectable average to a teetering 5.67 with 17 runs allowed in his last four innings pitched.

Freshman Dirk Masters tossed four complete innings to hold ORU to a single hit, however SHSU’s offense struggled against Oral Roberts pitcher Alex Gonzales, who went eight innings and allowed four runs.

Sparse singles and 10 runners left on base crippled the Bearkat lineup with a .270 batting average against Gonzales. Third baseman Kevin Miller and left fielder Luke Plucheck connected for multiple hits in the series opener but could only tally two runs combined.

Hitting woes lingered into game two for the Bearkats, with only four hits in nine innings to lose the series in game two with a 7-2 loss.

Starter Andrew Godail completed seven innings on the mound before an avalanche of eight runs from ORU’s bats in the top of the eighth.

Jason Simms came in for relief but only lasted three batters after giving up a single and issuing two walks. Alan Scott followed by Derek Barosh, snapped ORU’s rally.

Plucheck kept the Bearkats close with a solo homerun to even the score 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh. The junior left fielder accounted for both of SHSU’s runs and showcased his glove with a diving catch in the top of the inning to save a run from crossing the plate.

The Bearkats avoided the sweep with a 6-4 win headed by Hayden Simerly to close the series.

Simerly drove in centerfielder Colt Atwood and catcher Anthony Azar to take a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. ORU tied the board in the top of the second from a leadoff double to take an eventual 3-2 lead in the top of the third from a two out double.

Second basemen Jessie Plumlee and Simerly broke the tie with a double into the gap with support from a solo homerun into right-center from Simerly for a 6-3 lead in the fifth.

Burchett secured a Bearkat victory coming in with two outs in the ninth inning for his fourth save of the season.

The Bearkats return to Don Sanders to square off against University of Texas at Arlington Tuesday for “50 cent hotdog night” at 6:30 p.m.

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