@SamHoustonState Secures Third Consecutive SLC Title
By Cheval John
Sam Houston State clinched their third consecutive Southland Conference regular season title after a 13-3 mercy-rule win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders in eight innings at Don Sanders Stadium in Huntsville, Texas.
The victory gave the Bearkats at least a share of the title and the No.1 seed in the SLC tournament which will be on May 21st-24th on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Arkansas.
Both teams battled for the first five and 2/3 innings.
A&M-Corpus Christi (19-10 conference play, 30-24 overall) struck the first blow in the top of the second inning when catcher Russell Vaughan hit a opposite field home run to left field for a 1-0 lead.
Sam Houston (21-8 conference play, 39-15 overall) responded swiftly as they scored 2 runs in the bottom of the second inning for a 2-1 lead.
First baseman Ryan O’Hearn, who went 3 for 3 with 3 RBIs, led off with a single, advanced to third on a single by third baseman Carter Burgess, and scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly by short stop Corey Toups.
A couple batters later, left fielder Luke Plucheck hit a RBI single up the middle that capped the inning.
The Islanders tied it up at 2 on a two out, RBI infield single by third baseman Brandon Tierney.
Sam Houston regain the lead at 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning before the Islanders knotted it up at 3 in the top of the sixth inning on a two out, RBI infield single by pinch hitter Dominic Lopez.
That set things up for the Bearkats to break the game wide open with a nine run explosion in the bottom of the 6th inning to make it 12-3.
Toups started the party with a one out, RBI single that made it 4-3.
A couple batters later, second baseman Shea Pierce drove in the fifth run on a sacrifice fly.
With the base loaded and two outs, center fielder Colt Atwood hit a two run, single to increase the lead to 7-3.
Designated hitter Hayden Simerly issued the walk to load the bases again that allowed catcher Anthony Azar, who started the inning with a single, to hit a two run single to make it 9-3.
Then O’Hearn delivered the dagger with a three-run opposite field home run to capped the inning.
Burgess sealed the victory in the bottom of the eighth inning when he hit an RBI single to make it 13-3 and put the mercy-rule in effect.
Though Sam Houston has the series at hand, they have an opportunity to sweep the Islanders today at 1 p.m. and keep the title to themselves.