Sam Houston State baseball went 3-1 in its first four games to start off strong in the 2015 season. In the Kleberg Bank College Classic this past weekend in Corpus Christi though, the Bearkats record took a hit as the Kats went 1-3 in the tournament.
SHSU takes its 4-4 record heading into a lone game today against Prairie View A&M.
The Panthers head into Don Sanders Stadium boasting a 2-5 record after beginning the season with four blowout losses to Southland Conference foes Houston Baptist and Incarnate Word. PVAMU is on a two-game winning streak with both victories over Our Lady of the Lake. The Panthers have a .231 team batting average compared to the .304 of the Kats. The Kats also have the advantage on the mound with a 3.30 era compared to the 5.40 era of the Panthers.
The Kats go into Tuesday’s game after dropping their first three games at Whataburger Field this past weekend before winning their tournament finale against SLC rival Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
It was a pitchers’ duel to begin the tournament against the University of Missouri on Friday. Through the first eight innings, the teams were scoreless until the Kats gave up a walk-off home run. SHSU could not get it going on offense as the Kats only recorded four hits against the Tigers’ Reggie McClain. Before the ninth inning, SHSU pitcher Andrew Godail allowed only four hits and two walks, but one pitch changed the game in the bottom of the ninth as Brett Bond knocked one out of the park for the Mizzou win.
“It was a great game, and I thought both pitchers went out and fought like warriors,” SHSU head coach Matt Deggs said. “They got a big hit in the end and that’s the way it goes.”
In game one of Saturday’s doubleheader against Purdue, a walk-off led to the Kats’ defeat in 12 innings. SHSU sophomore starter Sam Odom struck out six Boilermakers in his six innings at the mound and despite a strong performance by the bullpen in which senior relieve pitcher Alex Bisaca retired 13 straight batters, the Kats found themselves with another heartbreaking loss. The Boilermakers popped a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 12th to give the Kats their second straight walk-off loss.
SHSU’s tragic weekend would only get worse in the second game of the doubleheader against the Boilermakers. The Kats were up 7-2 at the top of the fifth inning before giving up seven unanswered runs. SHSU was a half-inning away from splitting the doubleheader before Purdue scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning to take the lead and win the game 9-7. In both losses to Purdue, SHSU junior closer Ryan Brinley gave up a run, his first runs ever given up in relief in a SHSU uniform.
In Sunday’s finale, the Kats looked to prevent a four-game sweep as they faced the Islanders in TAMU-CC’s home stadium. SHSU junior first baseman Spence Rahm went 4-for-5 from the plate and recorded four RBIs alongside senior right fielder Travis Lee going 3-5 and adding three runs. The Kats’ offense piled things on in the fifth inning as five runs were scored to take a six-run lead. SHSU’s Dylan Ebbs pitched just over seven innings in the win allowing only four runs on five hits.
“It was a great start by Ebbs and really set the tone for us,” Deggs said. “Our team revolves around our starting pitching. There was a lot to overcome with three tough losses. But we did that with a tough team in A&M-Corpus.”
The Kats look to get the bats going against a Panthers’ squad that has allowed 12 or more runs in half of their games this season.
First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.