Bears best Kats 4-2 in extra innings

The Sam Houston State University Bearkats baseball team dropped an extra-inning contest to the Baylor University Bears in front of 1,126 fans Tuesday night by a final score of 4-2.

In the first three innings of play, it was even between the two teams. Good defense and good pitching only allowed one hit for each team through the first three innings of play. Junior center fielder Clayton Harp was the only Bearkat to get a hit in the first nine outs.

Sophomore right handed pitcher Hayden Wesneski was on the mound and only allowed one hit to Baylor, struck out one and walked one through the first three innings.

The middle innings brought about a run for the Bears in the top of the fourth inning, courtesy of a sacrifice fly to bring the go-ahead run across the plate. However, through five innings of work, Wesneski still had a good outing on the night. Two strikeouts with two walks and only one run allowed, which was earned, and only one extra base hit through the first five innings of play.

After a walk forced by junior left fielder Jaxxon Grisham, junior infielder Trey Ochoa stepped up to the plate as the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth inning. On a failed pick-off attempt to first base, Grisham advanced to second base as the tying run for the Bearkats in the bottom of the fifth inning. Ochoa, on two balls and two strikes, was able to lace one into center field, grabbing an RBI single and bringing in Grisham to tie up the ball game with two outs in the inning. Nothing more would cross the plate and the Bearkats would end the sixth inning leading by a score of 2-1.

Wesneski ended the night at six innings of work. In six innings of work, he only allowed three hits on the night, striking out two. He walked two Bears as well, but only allowed one earned run to cross the plate on the night.

Wesneski talked about what he liked from his performance in the game.

“Well, I was throwing strikes and I was throwing where I wanted,” Wesneski said. “In the end, I was locating my fastball well, mixing in the change[up] a little and then I still need to work on my slider and stuff. But in the end, I have my guys behind me into it and they field it very well tonight and so if I keep getting ground balls and fly outs, I know I am going to get outs.”

The final three innings of the ballgame played a lot like the first three innings of play. More good defense and pitching resulted in none to minimal action on the base paths for either team in the seventh through ninth inning of play.

However, things did get interesting with two outs in the top of the eight inning. After an intentional walk to Baylor third baseman Davis Wendzel, there were runners on first and second with first baseman Andy Thomas stepping up to the plate, who was one-for-three in the game up to that point. An RBI single by Thomas tied up the game and sent senior left handed pitcher Riley Cooper out of the game with both runners on the base paths still counting against him.

Cooper’s final stat line looked like 1 2/3 innings of work with two strikeouts as well as three groundouts forced in his outing. Replacing him in the game was senior right-handed pitcher Dakota Mills. He strikes out his first batter in the top of the eight inning as the Bearkats headed to the plate with the game tied at two apiece.

Bottom of the ninth came with the game still tied at a 2-2 tally. Clayton Harp was first up for the Bearkats. Heading into the at-bat, Harp was two-for-three with a double on the night. With a two ball and two strike count, Harp hits one in between the second and first baseman for a no out single. A bunt was attempted by junior catcher Jordan Cannon. However, the Bears got Harp out a second base to record out number one. However, the inning came without a run and thus sent it into extra innings.

Top of the 10th inning came with the Bearkats on the field and junior shortstop Andrew Fregia stepped on the mound for two-thirds of the inning. In the three batters faced on his outing, Fregia struck out one in his outing on the mound, not allowing a run to cross home plate in extras.

Deggs talked about his shortstop pitching for a bit for the second time in the past couple of weeks.

“We have a lot of interchangeable parts,” Deggs said. “We are looking for another right hander out of the bullpen. We are left handed dominant. Drew has a really good arm, has good command. He has a couple of pitches that he can throw for strikes and I thought he did a really good job.”

Heading to the bottom of the 12th inning, SHSU trailed 4-2 thanks to two runs crossing home plate for the Bears in the top of the inning. The Bearkats at the plate struggled to get on the base paths. In fact, they did not get on the base paths at all in the bottom half of the inning as SHSU would take the loss at home by a final score of 4-2.

The Bearkats now have a couple of days off before beginning the three-game weekend series against hated rivals in the Stephen F. Austin State University Lumberjacks in baseball’s version of the Battle of the Piney Woods. The weekend series starts at 6:30 p.m. on Friday at Don Sanders Stadium.

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