Photo by Rwanda Tu’a
Sam Houston Bearkat baseball opens the season on a high note as they took the 3-game opening series of 2023 against the Rhode Island Rams.
The Bearkats (2-1, 0-0) took the Opening Day victory on Friday against the Rams (1-2, 0-0) in a 3-2 win.
It was a pitcher’s duel throughout.
Sam Houston took the lead when graduate utility player Tyler Davis scored on a wild pitch in the first inning.
Junior right-handed pitcher Coltin Atkinson kept the Rams at zero until the fourth inning when redshirt-sophomore catcher Rob Butler hit a towering 2-run homer over the left field wall.
It made it 2-1 Rhode Island.
Atkinson would pitch cleanly for the rest of his outing.
His final line was five innings pitched while allowing four hits, two earned runs, and two walks. He also accumulated four strikeouts.
“I thought Coltin went out and did a really good job of setting the tone,” said Bearkat head coach Jay Sirianni.
A couple inning later in the seventh, freshman infielder Jake Tatom reached on an error.
Then a batter later, with two outs, sophomore Lane Brewster hit a hard hitting line drive home run over right-center field off RIU graduate RHP Jon Morrison.
“Lane Brewster just kind of has a knack for the big hit,” said Sirianni.
It gave the Bearkats a 3-2 lead.
That was all of the runs for the game but the Rams got the bases loaded with nobody out in the eighth inning with junior transfer RHP Chandler David on the mound.
There was activity in Sam Houston’s bullpen, but it was David’s jam to get out of.
Then in short order he got a popout to first, a strikeout looking, and then a flyout to right field.
An anxious crowd cheered on David as he exited the field in his final inning.
“That was a grinder of an inning,” Sirianni added.
Sophomore left-handed pitcher Braden Davis the came in the ninth inning and helped the Bearkats secure win number one of the season with a groundball to Davis at first base.
David got the win with a final line of three innings pitched while allowing no runs with five strikeouts.
Morrison was handed the loss.
Davis notched his first save of the season with just one inning and two strikeouts.
For Sirianni it meant a lot to get the win on opening night.
“Anytime you can win on Opening Night it’s always a good way to start your year,” Sirianni added.
Unfortunately the winning ways would not last long.
The Rhode Island Rams would explode on offense as they defeated the Bearkats 13-3 on Saturday.
Senior LHP Steven Beard did not have his best stuff on the mound as he gave up six earned runs in three innings and took the loss.
Ram junior LHP Trystan Levesque got the win after going six innings of 2-run ball with eight strikeouts.
Sophomore catcher Walker Janek and junior outfielder Clayton Chadwick each got their first home runs of the season on back-to-back plate appearances in the fourth inning.
The Rams evened the series. Sirianni knows though that it is a long season and that there was the next day.
Redshirt sophomore RHP Logan Hewitt took the mound for the start of rubber match of the series on Sunday.
Just over the past two games the Bearkats scored five runs combined.
It seemed like a pitcher’s duel was expected.
Not this time.
The Bearkats put on a hitting barrage and won 25-2.
The runs scored are the most since Sam Houston baseball became a Division I program.
The offense also ammassed 20 hits.
“We rebounded from yesterday’s game you know that [game] got out of hand from us in a hurry,” Sirianni on the offense.
Every single Bearkat starting position player got at least a hit.
Those who headlined the performances were Lane Brewster who had five RBI that mostly came from a grand slam in the sixth inning.
Clayton Chadwick hit two home runs that helped him get four RBI.
Freshman infielder Jake Tatom had a breakout game where he drove in four runs of his own.
Janek hit a 3-run homer in the fifth inning to notch his RBI total of three.
Tyler Davis got two RBI.
Senior infielder Myles Jefferson, freshman infielder Ryan Franden, junior infielder Easton Loyd and junior catcher Wes Folse all got an RBI each.
The freshman Franden and Tatom both recorded their first collegiate career RBI’s.
Multi-homer hitter on the day Clayton Chadwick said it was all about better preparation.
We knew the past couple games our offense wasn’t up to our standards so we made sure to get some better preparation in before we executed,” Chadwick added.
It was an onslaught.
A lot of it also happened with two outs.
“It’s always big, we call the back breakers,” Sirianni said.
But Hewitt did his part on the mound too.
The redshirt sophomore went six innings allowing two runs and striking out six, grabbing the win.
“It was a good feeling,” Hewitt added.
It also seemed to have helped the offense.
“Five zeroes in a row, it just gives the offense a huge confidence boost when you know you don’t have any catching up to do,” Chadwick on Hewitt’s performance.
The Bearkats now look toward an old foe Tuesday night as they will face the McNeese Cowboys from the Southland Conference.
With starters Carlos Contreras and Justin Wishkoski eligible to return after serving a suspension, it will be interesting to see how the offense will be.
The game will be broadcasted on ESPN+ with first pitch at 6:30 p.m. CT.