Sam Houston State baseball hosts Incarnate Word in a three-game weekend series as the Bearkats look to become .500 on the season.
The Kats head into the contest after a mid-week victory over Northwestern State backed by a grand slam and three triples in third inning Tuesday.
“We have a lot of important baseball in front of us,” SHSU head coach Matt Deggs said. “Everything that we have set out to do is still in front of us.”
The 16-19 Kats lost its last weekend series to Stephen F. Austin State. The Kats currently sit in a tie for sixth place in the Southland Conference with an 8-7 record.
The 11-20 Cardinals are riding a four-game losing streak including a sweep against Nicholls State as they visit the Kats this weekend. UIW sits in a tie for last place in the SLC with a 2-10 record.
The Cardinals are 11th in batting in the SLC with a .245 batting average while the Kats sit in fourth with a .281 average. Only one regular starter for UIW is batting .300 compared to the four of SHSU.
SHSU also sits in fourth place on the mound with a team ERA of 3.51 while UIW sits in last with an ERA of 5.76.
The Kats take on the Cardinals beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Don Sanders Stadium and continues Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
The series concludes Sunday at 1 p.m.
“The last few chapters [aren’t] written,” Deggs said. “They’re only written if we decide to write them.”
The Kats faced SLC-foe Northwestern State in a non-conference game Tuesday as SHSU used a six-run inning to help beat the Demons.
“I thought it was a big win for us,” Deggs said. “We played extremely well together as a unit, up and down the lineup.”
Junior Ryan Brinley knocked a grand slam in the third inning and finished the night 2-for-2 with five RBIs.
“That was the first [grand slam] I’ve ever hit so that was pretty cool for me,” Brinley said. “It put us ahead of a really good team.”
Freshman Bryce Johnson went 3-for-3 at the plate and added two RBIs of his own. Junior Trevor Winnie got just his sixth start of the season and went 3-for-4 scoring three runs.
“I thought Bryce Johnson did an incredible job of executing our offense tonight,” Deggs said. “I really like the way Winnie responded coming off the bench, he’s just a test of perseverance. Collectively we were just a tough out.”
Despite giving up an early run in the second inning, the Kats brought in senior Alex Bisacca in the third inning. The relief pitcher threw four strike outs in four perfect innings on the mound, not allowing a single hit or walk.
“Bisacca came in and did an incredible job,” Deggs said. “That’s what Alex has done all year. He has come in and stabilized things.”
The Kats added some insurance runs in the fourth and seventh inning to bring their run total to eight on 14 hits. The Demons fought back in the final two innings as they added four runs, but the deficit was too much to overcome.
The Kats and Demons split the four games of the 2015 season but Tuesday’s game does not count toward SLC records due to scheduling.