The Sam Houston State University Bearkats baseball team got the series win on Sunday, taking the rubber match over the Kent State University Golden Flashes 12-6 in an offensive thriller with plenty of fireworks.
Through the first three innings of the contest, the Bearkats struggled to get runners on base. Only getting two hits, one of which was a triple, SHSU was not able to find the spark they needed to get the offense going as both of the runners they got were left stranded on base when the third out was recorded.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Bearkats were able to get a runner on base with a double to start the inning. They were able to bring a run in with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning to get on the scoreboard, courtesy of junior left fielder Clayton Harp.
Another run would score for SHSU in the bottom of the fourth as junior center fielder Hunter Hearn knocked in a run off an RBI single to make it 5-2. Just before the inning ended, junior shortstop Andrew Fregia hit a three-run homerun to left field and with that swing tied up the ballgame at a score of five to five.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, after a two-run homer by freshman designated hitter Jack Rogers, a bit of a kerfuffle- for lack of a better term- came into full effect as words were exchanged between batter and pitcher when the next batter after Rogers- Josh Biles was hit by the pitch- cleared the benches and even got both managers in a heated exchange.
With bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning, Hearn drove a run in with an RBI single to make it an 8-6 ballgame with the Bearkats on top. Later, with bases loaded still and two outs with a 3-2 count, junior infielder Chase Cryer singled and brought in all three runners on base for a three RBI single to score seven in the bottom of the sixth inning and make it 12-6 SHSU.
Cryer talked about the big explosion of offense in the middle innings of the rubber match on Sunday.
“Just sticking with the game plan, not trying to do too much with it,” Cryer said. “Just taking what they gave us and just going from there.”
The Bearkats held onto that lead and won it by the final score of 12-6. The win goes to sophomore left handed pitcher Kyle Backhus, who in 1 2/3 innings only gave up one earned run on one hit, walked one and struck out two of the eight batters he faced.
Head coach Matt Deggs thought that all around, it was a good start to the season.
“I thought it was a great series against a really really good ball club,” Deggs said. “It’s a really talented team over there. They can pitch. They can swing it, they can defend it. They are older, they are super well coached and really what I appreciate out of that series is that we got a little bit of everything. We got some adversity we had to bounce back and respond from. We had a chance to have a little comfort and then we had to come from behind and scrap and claw our way back into a ball game which was good to see us do on Sunday.”
The Bearkats will have a day off before they take on the University of Houston in a one-game series starting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night at Don Sanders Stadium before starting a new three-game weekend series against Cincinnati.