By Cheval John
With the series in hand, Sam Houston State wanted to sweep Southeastern Louisiana on Sunday at Don Sanders Stadium in Huntsville, Texas.
The Bearkats did just that with a 4-1 win over the Lions.
Sam Houston is now tied for third place in the Southland Conference (SLC) with a 13-8 record (30-14 overall) with 11 games left in the regular season.
Bearkat starter Sam Odom went 8 innings, giving up only a run on four hits, striking out four batters, and didn’t issue a walk.
The Bearkats got all of their runs from two home runs in the game.
Designated hitter Hayden Simerly, who went 2 for 4, launched a two run shot in the bottom of the third while catcher Anthony Azar, went deep with a two run bomb of his own in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Southeastern Louisiana (12-9 SLC play, 27-17 overall) struck first in the top of the first inning for a 1-0 lead courtesy of a sacrifice fly by right fielder, Andrew Godbold.
Sam Houston responded in the bottom of the third inning with two runs to make it 2-1.
Bearkat right fielder Travis Lee reached first on a fielder’s choice that got left fielder Luke Plucheck , who led off the inning with a walk, out at second.
A batter later, with two outs, Simerly launched a two run shot over the right field wall.
That was all Odom needed as he retired 12 out of 13 batters in the next three innings.
The Bearkats rewarded Odom in the bottom of the seventh inning after Azar hit a two-run moonshot over the left field wall to extend the lead to 4-1.
Ryan Brinley pitched the 9th inning in relief, got the necessary outs to secure the sweep and get his fifth save of the season.
Sam Houston aims to keep the momentum going on Tuesday as they travel to Waco to face Baylor in a non-conference matchup before hosting their arch-rivals, Stephen F. Austin in a weekend series.
By Cheval John
Sam Houston State understood the magnitude of their weekend matchup with Southeastern Louisiana at Don Sanders Stadium in Huntsville, Texas.
Coming into the series, the Bearkats were trailing the Lions, who were in first place in the Southland Conference by two games.
Sam Houston won the first game in dramatic fashion by the score of 2-1.*
On Saturday, they took the series with a 5-3 win and are currently tied with the Lions in conference
“Going into this weekend, we knew how big it was,” Bearkat left fielder Luke Plucheck, who went 1 for 3 with a home run and three RBI’s said. “We wanted to come out and show that we are still the best team in this conference.”
Bearkats pitcher Nolan Riggs pitched 2 1/3 innings in relief and secured his first win of the season.
Sam Houston (12-8 SLC play, 29-14 overall) got key defensive plays in the top of the fourth inning that kept the Lions off the board.
Lions’ catcher Jameson Fisher led off the inning with a walk and stole second base with one out.
The next batter, third baseman Brett Hoffman, hit into a fielder’s choice that got Fisher out for the second out.
It turned out to be huge as designated player Daniel Midyett hit a single that would have scored Fisher, but instead, made it first and second with two outs.
Then, first baseman Sam Roberson hit a single to right field that would have brought in Hoffman.
However, Travis Lee threw out Hoffman at home to get the third out and end the threat.
The Lions (12-8 SLC play, 27-16 overall) finally broke through in the top of the fifth inning for a 1-0 lead.
Center fielder Jacob Seward had a two out single and advanced to second on a walk by short stop Kennon Mennard.
The next batter, Fisher, hit one up the middle that scored Seward from second base.
It didn’t take long for the Bearkats to respond in the bottom of the fifth inning with a four run explosion to make it 4-1.
Plucheck started it with a two run, shot off the basing of the scoreboard to make it 2-1.
A few batters later, catcher Anthony Azar hit a two run double to center field that extended the lead to 4-1.
“They’ve been playing very shallow in the outfield,” Bearkat coach David Pierce said. “Azar is a powerful hitter and he just burned the center fielder.
The Lions was not going away easily as Seward’s two run double in the top of the sixth inning cut the lead to 4-3.
Sam Houston got an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning to extend the lead to 5-3 on a fielder’s choice play that allowed short stop Corey Toups, who led off with a single and advanced to third on a single by Pierce, to score.
Plucheck reached base on the play and was credited with the RBI.
“Our mindset every time is to just win the inning,” Plucheck said. “No matter how many runs they scored in the top half of the inning, our goal is to always score more in the bottom half of the inning.
The Bearkats look to sweep the Lions in the rubber match later today at 1 p.m.
*First Video Courtesy of Bearkat Sports Network
By Cheval John
If someone sees the success of a person, organization and/or sports teams, one of the first things that come out of their mouths is that they were lucky.
What they don’t see is the years of blood, sweat and tears that the person, organization, and/or sport team went through in order to put themselves in position to succeed.
Here are two examples of how a little preparation went a long way for these guys and how you can apply the same mindset to your life:
Sam Houston State Bowling Team
The Sam Houston State (SHSU) Bowling Team won the NCAA Division I National Championship in the Cleveland suburb of Wickliffe, Ohio about two weeks ago after defeating defending champion, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 4-2 in the best of seven baker format.
The championship was the first ever for SHSU since moving up to the Division I level in 1986.
What is more impressive is that the bowling program is in it’s fourth year of existence and the team have made two previous appearances in the NCAA Championships prior to winning it all this year.
The team contributed their success to a second half surge in the 2013-14 season that allowed them to make their third trip to the championships.
However, I honestly believe that it was what head coach Brad Hagen did before the season even began: Held a pre-season exhibition with Texas Southern and Prarie View A&M at the Huntsville Lanes Center in Huntsville, Texas.
Even though, his team didn’t do well in the exhibition, it allowed them to see their weaknesses and correct the mistakes before the season began.
That little preparation by coach Hagen is what made the difference in helping the team secure the school’s first NCAA Division I National Title.
Diane Gottsman, owner of The Protocol School of Texas, shared a story at the Etiquette Dinner recently held at SHSU about a young college student, who she didn’t identify, so that is why I call her Jane Doe.
Mrs. Gottsman said that Jane Doe came up to her after one of her dinners and wowed her after Ms. Doe explained to her in detail about her background, what she said in her blog, www.dianegottsman.com her appearances on television, you name it.
Mrs. Gottsman added that even though “Ms. Doe” will be graduating from college two years from now, she is willing to wait for her because of the “extra preparation” that she did before the dinner.
In effect, Ms. Doe don’t have to worry about finding a career after graduating because she has already secured her first with a nationally recognized etiquette expert in Mrs. Gottsman.
So you see the two examples of how a little preparation has led to the success of the SHSU Bowling Team and “Jane Doe.”
You really don’t have an excuse anymore on why you can’t succeed in life.
If you go out, work hard and smart, and even put out the “extra preparation,” then you will achieve the success that you dream of.
By Cheval John
The Houston Cougars was leading 3-2 in the top of the eight inning and had two outs.
They were able to tacked on two more insurance runs in the inning after a missed call that allowed them to defeat the Bearkats 5-2 at Don Sanders Stadium in Huntsville, Texas.
Though it took the moment from Sam Houston (25-12), Bearkat head coach David Pierce said that the pitching was not up to par in the game.
Sam Houston used 6 pitchers and they gave up seven walks in the game.
“We didn’t play really well to win the game” Pierce said. “We got to get better out of the bullpen.”
The Bearkat offense didn’t get much production when it counted as they left 8 runners on base.
That was due to Houston’s (27-9) solid pitching that made the right pitches in the opportune time.
The Cougars used four pitchers, with reliever Andrew Lantrip getting the win after throwing two shutout innings.
“Their (Houston) pitching staff is No. 1 in the country,” Pierce said. “They walked one guy and struck out eight.”
“We didn’t get it done, center fielder Colt Atwood, who went 3 for 4 with an RBI, said. “Getting the clutch hits is more important.”
Houston capitalized on their opportunity in the top of the fourth inning to take a 1-0.
Left fielder Michael Pyeatt, who led off the inning with a single and first baseman Casey Grayson, who followed with a walk, advanced to second and third, respectively on a sacrifice bunt by center fielder Ashford Fulmer.
Then Pyeatt scored from third on a RBI ground out by third baseman Justin Montemayor.
The Cougars added another run in the top of the fifth inning for a 2-0 lead.
Short stop Connor Hollis started it with a one out single to left center and advanced to second on a walk by right fielder Kyle Survance.
Both runners advanced to second and third after Ebbs was called for a balk.
That turned out to be huge as a ground out by second baseman Josh Vidales allowed Hollis to score from third.
Sam Houston were able to knot it up at 2 in the bottom of the fifth inning.
After second baseman Shea Pierce reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second on a single by short stop Corey Toups, with two outs, Atwood hit an RBI single to left center field that scored Pierce to make it 2-1.
The following batter, catcher Anthony Azar, hit an RBI double to left field that scored Toups to cap the inning.
It seemed as if Houston was going to make something happen in the top of the 6th inning when Grayson led off with a walk.
But, left fielder Luke Plucheck had other ideas as he made another diving catch to rob Fulmer of a possible hit for the first out.
Afterward, Grayson was thrown out at second for the second out by Azar.
That allowed reliever Seth Holbert to force Montemayor to ground out to end the threat.
It didn’t stop the Cougars to score the go-ahead, run in the top of the seventh inning to make it 3-2 after a two out, RBI single by Vidales.
It seemed as Sam Houston State had got out of the jam in the top of the eighth inning when Toups made a diving stop to his left on a hit ball up the middle and thrown the ball at first for the final out.
However, the first base umpire called designated hitter Jacob Lueneburg, the person who hit the ball, safe claiming that first base man Hayden Simerly’s foot was pulled off the bag.
That kept the inning alive and a batter later, Hollis hit a RBI double to left field that extended the lead to 4-2.
After Survance issued the walk to load the bases, Vidales followed with an RBI walk of his own that capped the inning and took the sails out of the Bearkats.
Sam Houston looks to rebound from the loss when they return to Southland Conference play and travel to Beaumont to face Lamar in a weekend series.
“Lamar is a good team and are swinging the bats well right now,” Pierce said. “We got to be prepared.”
By Cheval John
David Pierce will remember the way how he secured his 100th win as a head coach on Tuesday night against the Baylor Bears at Don Sanders Stadium in Huntsville, Texas.
His Sam Houston State squad had committed three errors in the top of the fourth inning that resulted in three unearned runs that had them trailing 3-1.
The Bearkats could have felt sorry for themselves.
Instead, Sam Houston rallied together and scored a run in the bottom of the fourth inning to cut the lead to 3-2.
Then the breakthrough came in the bottom of the seventh inning when third baseman Carter Burgess hit a go-ahead two out, two run game-winning single to right field for a 4-3 lead.
“What we did was right after that (fourth) inning, we basically came together and said, ‘Look, it might be one of the worst innings that we had since the history of baseball, but at the same time, we got to overcome that and forget about it,’” Pierce said. “I think they did. That is the sign I’m looking for of a character team.”
How is this related to life?
Simple: Though you make mistakes and think that nothing will get better, you should always get back up and try again to fulfill your dreams.
Those who do that will always succeed.
The ones who don’t succeed are the ones who always find excuses and feel sorry for themselves.
The “never give up mentality” is why coach Pierce has directed the Bearkat squad to two consecutive at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament, back-to-back Southland Conference regular season titles, and securing his 100th win as a head coach.