By Cheval John
A five-run sixth inning propelled Sam Houston State to a 5-0 victory over Northern Colorado at Don Sanders Stadium in Huntsville, Texas.
The win secured the series for the Bearkats.
Dylan Ebbs, who started the game as a designated hitter, threw 1 2/3 innings in relief of starter Dirk Masters and got his first win of the season.
Though Ebbs went 0-2, he also walked twice and scored a run.
Luke Plucheck, who came into the game with .429 batting average after going 3 for 4 last night, went one for three with 3 RBIs.
Northern Colorado (0-3) loaded the bases four times, but could not capitalize on their opportunities as the Bearkats defense was able to shut them down.
In addition to the strong pitching by Masters and Ebbs, Jason Simms, who is on the Baseball Writers Association of America’s Stopper of the Year watch list, threw one inning in relief.
The Bears had their best chance in the top of the fourth inning when Nick Miller led off with a double down the left field line and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Brandon Vaugh.
Colby Harrelson followed with a walk to make it first and third.
After Masters struck out Ben Netzel for the second out, he walked Bryan Tibbetts to load the bases.
However, Masters settled down and struck out Nick Tanner to get out of the jam.
Then the Bearkats (3-0) exploded for five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to break the scoreless tie at 5-0.
Jake MacWilliam, who went 2 for 4, lined a one out single to left field that plated Anthony Azar from second for a 1-0 lead while Hayden Simerly, who had a single after Azar, advanced to third.
After Ebbs issued a walked with two outs to load the bases, Plucheck hit a double to left field that scored all three runners to increase the lead to 4-0.
Plucheck advanced to third on the throwing error and scored the fifth run on a error by Vaugh that allowed Dalton Perry to reach first.
Azar started the rally with a singled to right field.
The Bears had a chance to make something happen in the top of the seventh when Jake Ekman hit a one out single and Ryan Yamane followed with a single.
After Corey Fujimoto’s sacrifice bunt advanced both runners to second and third, respectively, Miller was walked to load the bases.
However, reliever Jason Simms got Vaugh to ground out to end the threat.
The series finale will take place tomorrow at 4 p.m.
By Cheval John
Sam Houston State starting pitcher Andrew Godail started off the game by walking lead-off hitter Ryan Yamane.
That led to Northern Colorado’s first run of the game after Nick Miller’s RBI single.
It could have gone downhill from there.
Instead, Godail settled down and pitched a solid game which allowed the Bearkats offense to string together some runs that led to the 9-1 victory over the Bears at Don Sanders Stadium in Huntsville, Texas.
Godail went 5 2/3 innings for his first win of the season.
Offensively, Sam Houston (2-0) got timely hits when it counted.
Hayden Simerly went 3 for 5 with two RBIs.
Luke Plucheck contributed big time with a 3 for 4 night and scored three runs.
With the Bearkats trailing 1-0, they responded with three runs in the bottom of the first inning for a 3-1 lead.
Simerly hit a two run, triple that scored Corey Toups and Anthony Azar to make it 2-1.
Toups led off the inning with a walk and stole second base.
A batter later, Azar followed with a walk and then both scored on Simerly’s triple.
Simerly scored the third run on Ryan O’Hearn’s sacrifice fly.
Sam Houston increased their lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning on a RBI single by Ryan Farney.
It seemed as if the Bears (0-2) was going to make a game out of it in the top of the fifth inning.
With two outs, Brandon Vaugh hit a single to left and advanced to third on a single by Colby Harrison, who advanced to second on the throw to third base.
However, they did not capitalized when reliever Ryan Brinley, who came in the game in place of Godail, struck out Andrew Coffman to end the threat.
That was all the Bearkats needed as they scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth to increase the lead to 6-1.
Sam Houston added two more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning for an 8-1.
The Bearkats have a chance to win the series tomorrow at 1 p.m.
Game 4 will take place on Monday at 4 p.m.
By Cheval John
The Sam Houston State baseball team started the 2014 season on the right foot.
The back-to-back Southland Conference regular season champions defeated the University of Northern Colorado 5-3 at Don Sanders Stadium in Huntsville, Texas.
This was the first time that the Bearkats have won an opening season game under head coach David Pierce.
Hayden Simerly went 2 for 3 with two runs batted in.
Colt Atwood got two hits out of four at-bats with an RBI.
Though starting pitcher Chris Hammer shut down the Bearkats’ offense for the first three innings, Tyler Eppler equaled his counter part with four shut out innings.
That allowed Sam Houston to strike first in the bottom of the fourth with two runs to give them a 2-0 lead.
The Bearkats played small ball and got some offensive production from the veterans on the squad at the right time in the fourth.
Atwood jump started it with a double down the right field line and advanced to third on a ground out by Anthony Azar.
Simerly’s sacrifice fly scored Colt Atwood from third that made it 1-0.
After Carter Burgess hit a long double to left field, he scored from second on a single by Ryan O’Hearn.
The Bears cut the lead to 2-1 on a RBI single up the middle by Jake Ekman.
Sam Houston created some cushion after scoring two runs in the bottom of the fifth for a 4-1 lead.
Ryan Farney started the party after reaching first on an error by Brandon Vaughn.
He advanced to second on a single by Corey Toups.
Atwood’s RBI single scored Farney from second base while Toups advanced to third and Atwood advanced to second on the throw home to the plate.
Then Toups scored from third on Azar’s RBI ground out.
It appeared as if the Bearkats were in control when they brought in reliever Alan Scott in place of Eppler in the sixth inning.
After getting the first two outs, the Bears strung together some runners and then
Ben Netzel hit a two out, two-run triple to pull them within 4-3.
The Bearkats didn’t panicked and increased their lead to 5-3 on an RBI single by Simerly.
Scott settled down and shut down the Bears in the final three innings to get the save.
Eppler went five innings and got the win.
Scott was only supposed to pitch up to the eighth inning, but he told his coach that he was responsible for giving up those two runs and wanted to make it up to the team.
That alone shows that they understand that they are playing for each other and are determined to start the season off right.
Game 2 of the four game series will be tomorrow at 6:30 p.m.
By Cheval John
Nobody expected Oklahoma State to lose to Texas Tech 65-61 on Saturday night.
The reason was because coming into this matchup, the Red Raiders were 3-6 in the Big 12 and 11-11 overall while the Cowboys held the No.19 position in the Associate Press poll.
It’s bad that they lost.
It’s even worst in the way that they lost.
You see, with 06.2 seconds left and the Cowboys still trailing by a possession, sophomore Marcus Smart fell into the stands after defending a dunk.
After a fan jabbed his mouth at him, Mr. Smart did the most unthinkable thing: He shoved the fan which resulted in a technical foul.
It resulted in him getting a technical foul that put the Red Raiders at the line.
I honestly think that Mr. Smart’s actions were uncalled for because he thought about himself instead of his team.
Yeah, the obnoxious fan said something to him that may have offended him and even crossed the line.
That is no excuse for him to retaliate at him because he not only represent the team, but is an ambassador to the entire student body, alumni, teachers, etc. of Oklahoma State University.
What Mr. Smart demonstrated is that he can’t handle the pressure of being a student-athlete at the moment.
Sure, he still young and will mature.
But the truth of the matter is that when he graduates and is possibly looking for a job or even decides to go to the NBA, many representatives will ask him about that incident and want to know if he will be able to handle his cool in any given situation.
They will look at the video of the game that was televised on ESPNU and see the disgraceful display in front of a national viewing audience.
This is Mr. Smart’s black mark for the rest of his life.
By Cheval John
Sam Houston State Bearkats pummeled the Lamar Cardinals 84-70 on Saturday night at Johnson Coliseum.
With the win, Sam Houston hold sole possession of second place in the Southland Conference with a 9-2 record and are 17-6 overall.
The Bearkats shot 48.2 percent from the field and went 47.1 percent from the arc.
Though Sam Houston had strong showings throughout their games, it has always been difficult for them to keep the intensity going.
It wasn’t that long ago when Sam Houston had built a 48-31 lead against the McNeese State Cowboys.
The Cowboys kept themselves in the matchup and chipped away at the lead.
It got to the point that McNeese State almost stole that game away from the Bearkats.
However, Sam Houston was able to hold on for the 86-81 win over the Cowboys.
Though this wasn’t as dramatic, it helped that Sam Houston had built a 48-27 lead at halftime.
The reason was because Sam Houston was outscored by Lamar 43-36 in the second half.
Bearkat coach Jason Hooten understands that his team still have to make improvements, especially with finishing out opponents.
“That part is kind of disappointing,” Hooten said. “We talked about it at halftime of not getting sloppy and not doing the things we need to do. You just hope that kind of stuff don’t come back to bite you.”
I definitely agree with coach Hooten because with seven games remaining that includes a re-match with league leader and arch-rival, Stephen F. Austin, they got to play their best basketball if they want to keep their momentum going before the Southland Conference Tournament begins.