by Cheval John
The Sam Houston State Bearkats football team looked really great in the Spring game that occured last night at Elliot T. Bowers Stadium, with a total of 80 plays and the offense having six total touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball, they got two turnovers for the game. They did not keep score this year in the scrimmage, so they were no winners or losers in the game.
“All spring we had a hard time moving the ball on our defense and today, we did a very good job on offense,” junior running back Tim Flanders said.
After going 14-1 in the 2011 season that included an NCAA Division I FCS Championship Final Appearance in Frisco, Texas, the road will be a little tougher as the Bearkats will play the 2012 schedule with only three home games and two against FBS schools, Baylor Bears and the Texas A&M Aggies.
They only lost 12 senior letterman from the team and also their offensive co-ordinator Bob DeBeese, assistant coach and wide receiver coach Jeff Conway and offensive line coach Derek Warehime, but they are poised for a great season.
They feel confident because of the pedigree that are returning and with the additions of wide receivers coach Matt Barrett, offensive coordinator Doug Ruse and offensive line coach Bart Tatum.
The coaches have adjusted pretty well to the Bearkat system as they will be working with 50 returning letterman including 19 starters, with five being named All-Americans from last year’s team.
For example, junior quarterback Brian Bell, who passed for 2,059 yards last year, had a decent spring game.
He looked pretty solid as he completed 11 of 17 for 161 yards and a touchdown.
“It was an awesome way to finish spring ball,” Bell said. “Coming out here offensively, we finished real strong and that is definitely were we needed to be.”
“He throws the ball really well on the run and with only 15 practices in the new format, he had good command of the offense,” head coach Willie Fritz said.
Senior wide receiver Trey Diller was the recipient of most of Bell’s passes, with seven catches for a total of 118 yards including a diving touchdown grab.
“We come a long way since day 1 of spring practice…now we have six touchdowns against one of the best defenses in the country,” Diller said.
The Bearkat 2012 football season will begin on Saturday, September 8 against Sacred Heart.
In front of a crowd of 1,244, the #20 Sam Houston State Bearkats baseball team defeated the Houston Cougars by the score of 5-4, improving their overall record to 26-10.
The Bearkats got their revenge as they had lost to the Cougars earlier in the season in Houston.
“The pitching was huge tonight,” right fielder Jake Arrington said. “They just threw strikes and we made plays when we needed to.”
The Cougars was looking to strike first in the top of the first inning when center fielder Landon Appling led off the game with a single up the middle and advanced to second on a ground out by short stop Chase Jensen. With two outs, starting pitcher Michael Oros issued walks to first baseman Codey Morehouse and catcher John Cannon to load the bases. But he got Jacob Lueneburg to ground out to second baseman Jesse Plumlee to end the inning.
The Bearkats took advantage of their opportunity and exploded for three runs in the bottom of the second inning that made it 3-0 on a RBI ground out by first baseman Ryan O’Hearn and a pair of RBI singles by Plumlee and left fielder Luke Plucheck.
Arrington led off the inning with a single and advanced to third on a single by third baseman Kevin Miller.
The Cougars scored their first run in the top of the fifth inning to cut the lead to 3-1 on a two out, RBI single by Codey Morehouse that scored left fielder Michael Pyeatt from second. Morehouse was thrown out at second to end the inning after trying to extend the single to a double.
A two out, RBI double by Runte in the top of the sixth inning chipped the Bearkat lead to 3-2.
With Runte on second base, it seemed as if the Cougars were going to tie the game, but right fielder Jake Arrington made a diving catch to rob third baseman Taylor White of a potential game tying base hit to end the threat.
“It was a great play based on positioning and how far he had to go,” head coach David Pierce said. “He really equated two runs for us tonight.”
The Cougars had another opportunity to tie the game when Appling was hit by a pitch by reliever Taylor Holt to lead off the top of the seventh inning.
Brandon Bergen came in relief of Holt and got the next three outs to get out of the jam.
“After the lead off hitter got hit by a pitch, Bergen was our choice because he can handle the running game and the bunting game,” coach Pierce said. “He really picked us up.”
Arrington hit a line drive home run to right field in the bottom of the seventh inning to extend the Bearkat lead to 4-2.
The Cougars did not go away as they cut the lead to 4-3 on a RBI ground out by designated hitter Jonathan Davis.
Runte followed with a walk with the go-ahead run coming to the plate.
Michael Burchett came in relief of Bergen and got pinch hitter Casey Grayson to fly out to end the inning.
“I just came in and threw strikes and let the defense do their work,” Burchett said.
The Bearkats added an insurance run in the bottom of the eight inning to increase the lead to 5-3 .
A one out, RBI single by Morehouse in the top of the ninth inning cut the Bearkat lead to 5-4. That was all that the Cougars would muster as Burchett settled down and got the final two outs to end the game.
“Any run in a close game like this is big,” Arrington said. “It was good for us to get another win out here.”
Oros went four innings and got his fifth win of the season. The Bearkats used four pitchers in relief with Burchett getting his fifth save of the season.
The Bearkats will carry their momentum on the road as they face McNeese State for a three-game weekend series that begins on Friday.
Many people consider Friday the thirteenth as a day of bad luck.
That was not the case for SHSU spirit programs as both the Orange Pride (OP) Dance Team and the Co-Ed Quad won the national championship in the National Cheer Association/National Dance Association (NCA/NDA) Competition in Daytona Beach, Florida last Friday, April 13 while the All-Girl Squad placed fourth and Sammy the Bearkat Mascot placed seventh in their respective competition in Daytona Beach.
For the O.P. Dance Team, it was their third straight national championship and fifth overall, making head coach Sarah Pritchard the all-time winniest coach in the program history.
“It’s not something that you could really describe,” O.P. co-captain Hannah Shields said. “I didn’t order a senior ring because I wanted a third national championship ring and I accomplished that.”
It was the first national championship in the history of the Co-Ed Squad program.
What even more amazing is that it was their first time competing in the NCA/NDA competition this year after competing in the Universal Cheerleaders Association/Universal Dance Association (UCA/UDA) Competition, defeating seven-time national champion and arch-rival Stephen F. Austin (SFA) State University.
“It’s such a huge accomplishment for Sam Houston and in the cheer world,” Shields said. “Who walks into a competition in their first year and wins over a seven-time national champion in SFA? It was a crazy day.”
In the first year of competition at the Division I level, the All-Girl Squad placed fourth.
In reality, the Spirit Programs proved that Friday the thirteenth is not a bad day after all.
Sam Houston State (SHSU) Bearkat baseball team completed the series sweep by defeated the Northwestern State Demons by the score of 5-3 to complete the series sweep and extend their winning streak to 12 games.
It was also their third straight weekend series sweep against Southland Conference (SLC) teams, making it the first time that they have done that since SHSU moved up to the NCAA Division I level in 1986.
“They really are a good team,” head coach David Pierce said. “Throughout the weekend, it was dogfight and our guys were fortunate to come out on top.”
The Demons (12-17 overall, 9-6 SLC) waste no time in the top of the first inning when left fielder Colin Bear hit a double to right center field that drove in Jordan Buckley to put them up 1-0.
Buckley singled with one out in the inning and advanced to second on a walk to catcher Nick Purdy.
The Bearkats (23-9 overall, 13-2 SLC) answered quickly with three runs in the bottom of the third inning to lead it by the score of 3-1 on a pair of RBI singles by left fielder Luke Plucheck, designated hitter Anthony Azar and right fielder Jake Arrington.
A two run, single by second baseman Jesse Plumlee increased the lead to 5-1.
Things got interesting in the top of the seventh inning when the Bearkats had appeared to have gotten out of the top of the seventh inning without giving up a run when starting pitcher Justin Jackson had touch first base before Drew Helenihi did to get the third out, but first base umpire Wes Bilon called him safe that allowed Matt Burns to score the Demons’ second run and prolonged the inning. The Demons took advantage and added an additional run on an RBI triple by Buckley to cut the lead to 5-3.
Burns hit a double down the left field line with one out in the top of the seventh inning. He advanced to third on a ground out by pinch hitter Nick Doughty that made it two outs.
The Demons had something going in the top of the eighth inning when first baseman Will Watson hit a single to left field with one out with the tying run coming to the plate.
He was thrown out at second by Hale on an attempted steal that made it two outs. Reliever Michael Oros got third baseman Nick Hinojos to fly out to end the inning and dashing the hopes of the Demons.
Jackson pitched seven innings and got his sixth win of the season. He struck out eight batters and gave up three runs on six hits.
Oros pitched the final two innings in relief to get his second save.
“He (Oros) pitched great,” Jackson said. “He threw for strikes and got some strike outs…..that is what he does and he’s a good pitcher.”
The Bearkats will try to extend their win streak next weekend when they face the Lamar Cardinals in Beaumont, Texas, beginning on Friday.
Ryan O’Hearn’s game-winning single in the bottom of the eleventh inning completed the Bearkat come back win against the Northwestern State Demons by the score of 4-3.
The victory extends their winning streak to 11 games and increasing their Southland Conference (SLC) record to 11-2 (22-9 overall).
“I was looking for a pitch that I could hit,” O’Hearn said. “It was low and I had good bat speed and fortunately, it was good enough to win.”
The Demons (12-16 overall, 9-5 SLC) struck first in the top of the second inning on a two-out, RBI single by Drew Helenihi that made it 1-0.
The Bearkats had something going in the bottom of the second when Jake Arrington walked with two outs, but he was thrown out at second base on a steal attempt to end the inning.
The Demons was looking to add more runs in the top of the third inning when Nick Purdy led off with a single and advanced to second base on a single by Colin Bear. Both runners advanced to second and third, respectivly on a sacrifice bunt by Will Watson. But starting pitcher, Caleb Smith stood his ground and struck out the next two batters to stop the Demons at their tracks.
“Caleb really had great stuff tonight,” head coach David Pierce said. “I told him after he got out of the jam ‘that could be the turning point of the game and it turned out to be.”
In the top of the fifth inning, Colin Bear to score from third to increase the lead to 2-0 on a pass ball by catcher John Hale . Bear walked with one out in the inning and advanced to second on an error by Plumlee that allowed Watson to reach first. Nick Hinojos followed with a walk to load the bases.
A sacrifice fly by Jordan Buckley in the top of the sixth inning increased the Demons’ lead to 3-0. Huckabay led off the inning on a two base error by Smith. He advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Helenihi and scored on the sacrifice fly by Buckley.
The Bearkats came storming back in the bottom of the sixth inning when Anthony Azar belted a two out, two run home run off the scoreboard that cut the Demon lead to 3-2. Olson walked with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch by starting pitcher Jacob Roark and scored on Azar’s home run.
“I knew that the fastball was coming and I wanted to put my best swing on it,” Azar said.
The Demons was looking to add on an insurance run in the top of the eight inning when Buckley hit a two-out single up the middle of the field, but was thrown out at second base by Hale to end the threat.
The Bearkats eventually tied it at 3 in the bottom of the eight inning when Corey Toups scored from third on a wild pitch by reliever Mason Melotakis that sailed over the head of Furdy on an intentional walk attempt to Azar.
Toups led off the inning with a single and reached second on a fielder’s choice that allowed Atwood to reach first. Both runners advanced to second and third, respectively on a sacrifice bunt by Greg Olson to put both runners in scoring position.
“I was trying to get on base to get something started,” Toups said. “Two really good bunts by Colt (Atwood) and Greg (Olson) moved me over.”
The Demons had an opportunity to regain the lead in the top of the ninth inning when Hinojos hit a two-out, single up the middle and Watson tried to score from second base, but was thrown out at home by Atwood to end the inning.
Olson led off the bottom of the eleventh inning with a bunt single and advanced to third on a single by Azar that allowed him to scored the game-winning run on O’Hearn’s single.
Jordan Bunch pitched two innings in relief and got his first win of the season while Melotakis suffered the loss for the Demons.
Smith pitched 5 and 2/3 innings and got the no-decision.
The Bearkats will have an opportunity to sweep the Demons in the rubber match tomorrow at Don Sanders Stadium. Game time is at 1 p.m.