@SamHoustonState Are Closer To Third Consecutive SLC Title
By Cheval John
HUNTSVILLE,TEXAS-Sam Houston State understood that they had to bring their A-game if they wanted to set the tone against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the first game of the weekend series.
Both teams were tied for first place in the Southland Conference (SLC) and vying for a regular season title.
Sam Houston made sure that they were the only ones in first place after a 9-2 demolition of the Islanders.
With the win, the Bearkats are one game away from securing a share of the SLC title, which will be their third straight championship.
The Bearkats (20-8 SLC play, 38-15 overall) got offensive production from right fielder Travis Lee and short stop Corey Toups.
Lee went 3 for 3 with four RBIs while Toups was 3 for 3 from the plate with 3 RBIs.
Sam Houston got quality pitching from starter Tyler Eppler, who went eight strong innings and got his eight win of the season.
Eppler only gave up a run on 6 hits, struck out six batters and walked only two.
Corpus Christi (19-9 conference play, 30-23 overall) had their chances, but couldn’t capitalized as they left 11 runners on base.
The Islanders struck in the top of the third for a 1-0 lead.
A&M-Corpus Christi had runners in scoring position after a double from left fielder Jordan Lee advanced Garza, who reached on fielder’s choice.
Then Garza scored from third on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Brandon Tierney.
Sam Houston responded with a four run explosion in the bottom of the fourth inning to make it 4-1.
With two outs and runner on, Toups launched a two-run home run to left field.
That was just the beginning.
Second baseman Shea Pierce followed with a walk and left fielder Luke Plucheck issued a walk and advanced to second on the wild pitch by starting pitcher Matt Danton, who suffered the loss, that allowed Pierce to reach third.
Then, Lee hit a two-run single up the middle that capped the inning.
Sam Houston added three more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to increase the lead to 7-1 on a RBI single by third baseman Carter Burgess, a RBI double by Toups, and a wild pitch by reliever Lukas Hermanson which allowed Burgess to score from third.
The Bearkats tacked on two more for good measure in the bottom of the eighth inning to increase the lead to 9-1 on a two-run single by Lee.
Though the Islanders scored in the top of the ninth inning to make it 9-2 on a base-loaded walk by Lee, reliever Nolan Riggs came in and retired the next three batters to seal the victory.
Sam Houston will look to take the series and the SLC regular season title later today beginning at 6:30 p.m.