The University of Oklahoma, the University of Texas, Rice University, Baylor University, University of Louisiana-Lafayette, Texas Tech University, and a few others are the teams the Sam Houston State Bearkats prepared against in their 14 games before conference play was slated to begin on Friday against the University of New Orleans.
The Bearkats looked to come out on all cylinders Friday against UNO after a 5-9 start to the season gave SHSU valuable experience, but not a lot of wins in the record book.
That parade was rained on however; when bad weather forced the teams to cancel the Friday game and play one on Saturday with a double header on Sunday.
Junior starter Sam Odom pitched another great game on Saturday for the Bearkats with his final score line similar of a major league starter nine innings pitched, three runs, and eight strikeouts.
Unfortunately his counterpart for UNO also had a great performance with 11 strikeouts.
The Bearkats managed to force the game into a 10th inning but a two out single with the bases loaded sealed the deal for UNO.
“It was a hard fought game,” SHSU head coach Matt Deggs said. “Sammy pitched his heart out and gave us a chance to win. I thought we played extremely well on defense. We just need to put the ball in play more consistently.”
In the first game on Sunday, The Bearkats had a four run advantage going into the bottom of the fourth.
The high-powered UNO offense had other ideas and scored seven runs across the next three innings and snatched the lead.
The Bearkats would not go quietly into the second game however and fought back to score two runs in the top of the ninth but just couldn’t get quite enough across the plate and fell 7-6.
“Our biggest opponent right now is ourselves,” Deggs said. “We’ve got to continue to minimize the mistakes. We come back and load the bases in the ninth and just didn’t get the hit.”
The double headers second game, however; had a much more pleasant outcome for the Bearkats.
Freshman right hander Riley Gossett dealt seven innings where he only gave up one run and no walks along with three strikeouts.
The Bearkats fed off the strong performance and gave Gossett a lot of early run support and the ‘Kats headed to the bottom of the ninth up eight to two.
The UNO offense managed to score twice but was unable to make up the six run deficit and the Bearkats won with a final score of eight to four.
SHSU’s next test comes in the form of the preseason number two team when the Northwestern State University Demons come to town for a weekend set.
NSU comes in boasting an eight and seven record. They are led by senior outfielder Bret Underwood who has a .345 average on the season, as well as six stolen bases, seven walks, four doubles, and a triple.
The Bearkats will also most likely see junior right hander Adam Oller on the mound for the Demons. Oller has a measly .67 era with 26.2 innings pitched and 20 strikeouts in four appearances on the season.
The teams square off at 6:30 pm on Friday in the first game of the set.