HUNTSVILLE – Sam Houston State erupted in the middle innings again Sunday, closing the Southland Conference sweep against A&M-Corpus Christi with a 6-3 victory at Don Sanders Stadium.
With the win, the Bearkats are off to their best start in program history in league action at 6-0. The win was the seventh straight and 13th in the last 14 games for Sam Houston, moving the team to 15-5.
Sam Houston starter Hayden Wesneski (5-0) picked up his fifth victory, recovering from a three-hit first inning to scatter eight total hits, allowing two runs (one earned) in 6 1-3 innings. The freshman fanned three and walked another while lowering his ERA to 2.17.
The Kats return to action on Tuesday, hosting UT Arlington at 6:30 p.m. from The Don. Prior to the game, the program will host the Bearkat Country Crawfish Boil presented by Bill Fick Ford. The first 500 students will received free crawfish with a valid Bearkat OneCard.
HOW IT HAPPENED
A&M-Corpus Christi (6-14, 0-3 SLC) got on the board in the first courtesy of three hits including an RBI single from Nick Anderson to score Dawson Yates who sent a two-out double down the right-field line. It would be the second-straight day the Islanders took the early lead.
The Kats knotted things up in the third, taking advantage of a leadoff single from Taylor Beene, the first hit of the day for Sam Houston. Sam Houston showed why it entered the weekend ranked second nationally in sacrifice bunts as Riley McKnight moved the runner to second.
Clayton Harp, who drilled his first-career home run on Saturday, sent a first-pitch single up the middle to knot the game at 1-1. The Kats stranded one in the fifth but again used the middle innings to bust it open.
Harp got things going in the sixth, working a six-pitch leadoff walk and came all the way around to score as Lance Miles sent the second pitch he saw to right center for a team-leading seventh double, providing the Kats a 2-1 advantage.
Fregia followed with a single to right and Blake Chisolm brought home another, beating the throw on a fielder’s choice. After the designated hitter was caught stealing, Sam Houston showed its calling card, plating runs with two outs.
Robie Rojas reached on a six-pitch walk and raced around to score as Hunter Hearn rocketed a double into left center. The Kats continued to apply the pressure as Taylor Beene walked and Hearn advanced to third on a passed ball. With Riley McKnight at the dish, Hearn scored for a 5-1 lead on a wild pitch.
The Islanders grabbed one back in the seventh, chasing Wesneski from the game after a bunt single and third error of the game, placing runners on the corners. Reliever Jordan Cannon came in and cleaned up, allowing just a sacrifice fly before striking out Itchy Burts to strand two.
Sam Houston got the run back in the seventh as Bryce Johnson was plunked by the pitch to lead off the inning. The center field swiped second then third for his fifth and sixth stolen base of the series, scoring on the errant throw to third from the catcher for a 6-2 lead.
The Bearkats bullpen closed it down as Brad Demco fanned three while allowing one hit in an inning of work and Nick Mikolajchak allowed one run and a pair of hits in the ninth but induced consecutive flyouts to end it.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Sophomore Clayton Harp added his ninth RBI in four games on Sunday, finishing 6 for 13 (.462) in three starts against the Islanders and a midweek win at Rice. Harp posted his first-career home run on Saturday while walking three times and legging out a triple. The El Campo product helped deliver a 6-2 win at Rice on Tuesday, sending a two-out, three-run double into left field in the eighth inning.
Head coach Matt Deggs on the victory…
“When you sweep in this league and have a 4-0 week it is a big deal. We have been fortunate enough to start off well. I thought (Brad) Demco coming off the bullpen and did his job and then Nick (Mikolajchak) came in and shut it down. Hits were hard to come by on what should have been an offensive day. They did a really good job coming back out and responding. Generally, what you see in our level of baseball is when you really get after a team typically the next day is a dog fight.”
Head coach Matt Deggs on the week from Clayton Harp…
“He came up with another big two-out RBI today. He’s super talented. It’s all in there and it’s just a matter of time before he blossoms and comes out on a regular basis. We see it all the time in practice. He is a tremendously gifted athlete. He has a bright future.”
Head coach Matt Deggs on the start to Southland play…
“Any time you are 2-0 in a series … good teams take a series, great teams sweep. That’s what we challenge them with. It wasn’t our best baseball today. We have played a lot better games but we found a way to win. That’s the bottom line. There is no such thing as not winning good enough. It was a full team victory.”
Outfielder Hunter Hearn on the on the weekend…
“I am seeing the ball well right now. Coach Deggs has been working with our approach. Everyone is hitting the ball well right now. We have a lot of home games this year. We couldn’t ask for that to be better, especially playing a lot of conference games.”
Starting pitcher Hayden Wesneski on moving to 5-0 on the season and the 6-0 league start…
“It means a lot. It’s not me getting the wins. The team is scoring a lot of runs behind me. I am filling up the zone and keeping the defense into it. Our bats are coming through. We know we have a good defense behind us.”