Baseball opens season with series win over reigning Big Ten champs

Photo courtesy of Brisenia Flores

After a long wait, college baseball finally arrived in Huntsville, Texas as the Sam Houston Bearkats took the series this weekend, over defending Big 10 Conference Champions Nebraska Cornhuskers three games to one.

The Bearkats (3-1,0-0) started the series on opening day last Friday with the Cornhuskers (1-3, 0-0).

Starting for the Bearkats was left-handed junior pitcher Matt Dillard. Dillard and the Kats got off to a rough start when Dillard gave up three runs (one unearned) in the second inning off a couple hits and two errors.

The Bearkats quickly erased the deficit the next half inning against Nebraska starting left-handed sophomore pitcher Emmett Olson.

It started with a two run-batted-in single by sophomore utility player Clayton Chadwick and an RBI single by junior infield transfer from Howard College Justin Wishkoski.

The Kats then took a 5-3 lead with a two RBI single by senior two-way player Tyler Davis.

It was all quiet until the Huskers in both the sixth and seventh innings scored two runs off of Bearkat senior right-handed pitcher Cole Wesneski, who relieved Dillard. Those two runs tied the game 5-5.

The Kats, however, took the lead back and then some to make it 8-5 in the seventh inning that included a Wishkoski two RBI double.

Senior right-handed pitcher Lance Lusk would then come in to close out the game in the ninth to record his first save of the season, striking out three batters on 13 pitches. Olson took the loss.

Saturday was a double-header with the first game being seven innings. Sophomore right-handed pitcher and pre-season Western Athletic Conference all team selection Coltin Atkinson got the nod from head coach Jay Sirianni and did not disappoint. Despite an RBI single by junior outfielder Luke Sartori in the second inning, Atkinson threw six innings and the Bearkats won 5-1. Sophomore infielder Easton Loyd led the way with a two RBI game.

Atkinson recorded the win and senior right-handed pitcher Shay Schanaman recorded the loss.

In the second game of the double header, it was a slugfest for Nebraska as they were up 9-0 within the first two innings off Bearkat pitchers junior Matt Rudis (eight total runs given up) and redshirt freshman Logan Hewitt.

The top seven batters in the batting order brought the most damage with all the runs coming from them.

The Kats were able to get it within three runs in the 9th when redshirt senior catcher/first baseman Trent Touchet hit a two-run homerun to bring it to 12-9. It was the first Bearkat home run of the season. 

Gomes however came in to clean up the mess and record the save to hand the Bearkats their first loss of the season.

The series was now at two games to one with Nebraska threatening to make it even heading into the final game of the series Sunday.

Coach Sirriani gave the ball to junior left-handed pitcher Steven Beard to start this big game, and Beard came up big.

While not a hard thrower, Beard blew the Huskers away with his disgusting breaking stuff, at one point getting as low as 68 miles per hour on his curveball.

The Kats jumped out early with a 6-0 lead after the first two innings and never looked back as they defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers 6-3 to win the series.

The Sam Houston Bearkats will take a day off before heading to Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas to face the number No. 4  Oklahoma State Cowboys for a game.

First pitch is scheduled at 6:30 p.m.

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