@SamHoustonState Wins Southland Conference Title Outright With 9-1 Victory
By Cheval John
Sam Houston State is not sharing the Southland Conference title with anyone after sweeping Texas A&M-Corpus Christi with a 9-1 win.
The capacity crowd of 870 at Don Sanders Stadium in Huntsville, Texas witnessed the Bearkats securing their 40th win of the regular season for the first time since 1987.
Sam Houston dominated A&M-Corpus Christi during the series as they outscored them 31-6.
The Islanders (19-11 SLC play, 30-25 overall) had struck first in the entire series, but couldn’t capitalized on their opportunities when it counted.
A&M-Corpus Christi again struck first in the top of the second when they took a 1-0 lead on a solo home run by right fielder Kyle Danford.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi was looking to tack on more runs in the top of the third inning.
Center fielder Zack Gibson led off with a walk, but was picked off at first by starting pitcher Sam Odom, who secured his 9th win of the season, for the first out.
That turned out to be key as third baseman Brett Burner hit a one out double to left field and advanced to third on a ground out by left fielder Jordan Lee.
Burner was left stranded at third as short stop Brandon Tierney grounded out to end the inning.
The Islanders had their opportunity to get out of the third inning with the lead in tack.
With two outs, Bearkat right fielder Travis Lee hit a chopper to Burner.
However, Burner threw the ball away that allowed Lee to reach second.
That set up center fielder Colt Atwood, who went 3 for 5 with three RBIs, to hit an RBI single to left-center-field that scored Lee from second base to knot it up at 1.
A&M-Corpus Christi was looking to take the lead in the top of the fifth when Gibson led off with a single.
However, he was thrown out trying to steal second by catcher Anthony Azar.
From there, Odom got Burner to ground out and Lee to fly out to end the inning.
The Islanders left 5 runners stranded in the game.
Sam Houston took the lead at 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Travis Lee issued a one out walk, stole second base, and advanced to third on ground out by Atwood.
Then designated hitter Hayden Simerly hit an RBI single that drove in Lee for the second run.
In the first two games, Sam Houston had a huge inning that gave them a huge cushion.
It happened again with a five run explosion in the bottom of the 6th inning to increase the lead to 7-1.
With one out, first baseman Ryan O’Hearn reached base on a throwing error by second baseman Cody Stephens.
After the Islanders got the second out, it seemed as if they were going to get out of the inning when short stop Corey Toups had flied out.
However, a delayed balk called on Islander starting pitcher Devin Skapura, kept the inning alive and moved O’Hearn to second base.
Toups issued a walk later in the at-bat that was followed by another walk by second baseman Shea Pierce to load the bases that set things up for left fielder Luke Plucheck.
Plucheck took advantage of his opportunity as he hit a two run single to left field that made it 4-1.
Travis Lee kept it going with an RBI single of his own and then Atwood hit a two run single to cap the inning.
Sam Houston added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to increase the lead to 9-1.
Relievers Andrew Godail retired the sided in the 8th and Ryan Brinley finished off the Islanders in the 9th inning that sealed the victory for the Bearkats.
Sam Houston now is focused on the SLC tournament which is set to begin on Wednesday in Conway, Arkansas on the University of Central Arkansas campus.