The Sam Houston State Bearkat baseball team opened the season against the nationally ranked University of Louisiana Lafayette Ragin Cajuns.
SHSU’s bad start in all three games resulted in losses but the Bearkats looked to bounce back last night against the University of Texas at San Antonio Road Runners.
The conditions for the game were less than ideal. Weather at first pitch was 47 degrees Fahrenheit with a northwest wind blowing 14 miles per hour.
“Wind levels the playing field,” Head Coach Matt Deggs said. “When there’s a constant wind blowing, especially in your face, it’s very hard to focus.”
The Bearkats overcame that early and got out to an early four to nothing lead after four innings thanks to some stellar pitching from senior right hander Greg Belton.
“Those early runs were great,” Belton said. “I went out there and threw strikes, and we had all the momentum. I was blowing hitters up.”
That all changed for Belton in the top of the fifth. He gave up five runs on four hits as well as his first walk of the night. The ‘Kats also had their second error of the night in the field.
The Bearkats answered back in the bottom of the sixth thanks to two errors from the UTSA defense.
In the top of the eighth, the UTSA catcher sent one to right center for a triple that drove in two runs to put UTSA up seven to five. The roadrunners manufactured one more run in the eighth to go up eight to five.
SHSU was never able to overcome this deficit, thanks to a three inning performance from junior pitcher Andre Shrewcraft, who only gave the Bearkats two hits in the last three innings.
The Bearkats are zero and four on the season, but they haven’t lost faith.
“I’m sick at my stomach for the kids,” Deggs said. “They play so hard. They might try too hard. That’s what’s getting us right now.”
Deggs pointed to a couple routine outs in the big innings where the ‘Kats defense tried to stretch and get more than they should have.
“You have to limit the damage,” Deggs said. “Our guys tried to prevent the damage. If they hadn’t done that, it would have been a different game.”
The Bearkats look forward to two series this week against high powered big twelve teams in the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Oklahoma University Sooners.
Texas Tech boasts the best offense the Bearkats have seen yet, with over 10 runs scored per contest as well as having four players with more than five runs batted in.
“We need to master the routine,” Deggs said. “Need to limit the big innings and play good solid baseball.”
The starter for the Bearkats will be senior right hander Jordan Church.
The Oklahoma team that comes in for a three game series on Friday, Saturday and Sunday has been a feast or famine team.
They split the series against Northeastern with five runs combined in their losses and 23 runs combined in their wins.
“I love these guys,” Deggs said. “I love coaching these guys. They’re gonna be good. It’s just a matter of when.”
If the Bearkats can clean up the short game, not strikeout and limit the damage, they can hang with anybody, according to Deggs.
The Bearkats play Texas Tech tonight and Oklahoma on Friday night at 6:30.