HUNTSVILLE – Jordan Cannon had three hits and a grand slam in the fifth inning to blow things open as the Sam Houston State Bearkats scored 10 unanswered runs to blow past Abilene Christian, 10-1, on Thursday night at Don Sanders Stadium.
Cannon finished with three hits and drove in four runs on a fifth inning grand-slam, finishing just a triple away from a cycle on the night, spearheading a 12-hit attack by the Bearkats (18-7, 7-0 SLC). Eric Bohnert added three hits and a pair of stolen bases, while Hunter Hearn and Blake Chisolm added a pair of hits each with both driving in two-out runs in the go-ahead third inning.
Ben Haefner added three RBI while Seth Ballew and Hayden Wesneski combined to hold ACU (13-10, 2-8 SLC) off the board for each of the game’s final seven frames. Wesneski gave the Kats 4.0 innings in the start, but it was Ballew who went the rest of the way, retiring the first 12 batters he faced on his way to 5.0 shutout innings of relief for his first win of the year. He struck out three and did not allow a hit until the ninth inning, getting a game-ending double play to close out the game.
For ACU, Riley Donahue delivered the game’s only run with a leadoff homer in the second and had a pair of hits on the night. Starting pitcher Brock Barger was touched up for five runs in just 4.1 innings, taking the loss to fall to 2-2 on the year. The Kats would also get to three Wildcat bullpen arms for five more runs, including Cannon’s grand slam off of Briley Buckley.
The Kats will return to action Friday for the second game of the three-game series against Abilene Christian with first pitch at 6:30. The game will be aired on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
Abilene Christian took the early lead by when Riley Donahue lined the first pitch of the second inning over the right field wall for his second home run of the season. Hayden Wesneski responded strong by retiring the next three batter he faced to prevent any further damage.
The Bearkats allowed back-to-back singles in the top of the third, but escaped unscathed, leaving two Wildcats on base. Sam Houston would answer in the bottom of the inning with three runs on three hits to jump up front, 3-1. Jordan Cannon led off with a ground-rule double and moved to third on an Eric Bohnert grounder, setting up a Ben Haefner sacrifice fly deep into right field to tie it. Hunter Hearn then doubled into the gap in right which scored Trey Ochoa and one batter later Blake Chisolm made it 3-1 with an RBI single.
The Kats then broke it open in the fifth. Chisolm got it going with a lead-off single before walks to Harp and Cryer loaded the sacks for Buckley. The Bearkat catcher then launched an 0-1 pitch out to left field for a grand slam, his fourth home run of the season that upped the lead to 7-1.
With Ballew cruising, Sam Houston added three runs on three hits in the seventh to up the lead to 10-1. Cannon’s third hit of the day came in the form of a line-shot a single up the middle that followed a leadoff walk by pinch hitter Jack Rogers. Bohnert then laid down a bunt single of his own and a wild throw from the ACU third baseman allowed Rogers to come in and score. Haefner would follow that up two batters later with a double to left field, pushing across two more to cap the scoring.
Coach Matt Deggs on the Bearkat pitching performance …
“It was a real solid game tonight. I thought Seth (Ballew) came in and did a really good job behind Hayden Wesneski who grinded through four for us, but just didn’t have his best stuff tonight. We thought the lefty would be a good matchup for us and Seth came in and was able to throw three pitches for strikes and settle things down for us.”
Deggs on the Bearkat offensive performance …
“I thought the offense did as patient of a job as they have done all year. I thought we were really good at the plate tonight. We were aggressive when the opportunity presented itself and then we did a really good job of letting the game come to us and not trying to go out and do too much stuff.”
Deggs on the how the week has shaped out …
“We’ve really had a good week of work. It’s been a bit of a blessing in disguise. We got rained out on Tuesday and we were able to get some rest and then go back to work. That helped us tighten up our approach a bit and I thought you saw some good patience tonight.”
Deggs on the team bouncing back from last week …
“I thought we were just ugly for a while, and that happens. Your schedule dictates some of that. It was a tough week last week with Texas and DBU, and if you are not at the top of your game you are going to get exposed a little bit. I think you saw some of that last week, so it was good for us to bounce back tonight and play really good Pack baseball.”