THIBODAUX, La. – The Sam Houston State Bearkats clinched its fourth straight Southland Conference series with a win in the second game of its series a Nicholls, but the Colonels rallied to take the finale on Sunday afternoon at Ray E. Didier Field.
The teams had to return to Didier Field on Sunday morning after the middle game of the series was suspended due to inclement weather in the third inning. The Kats would return to close out that game, but Colonel (11-21, 5-7 SLC) starter Jacob Bedavian put together a great start in the series finale to help Nicholls avoid the sweep and had Sam Houston (23-8, 11-1 SLC) its first league loss of the year.
The Bearkats have a big week ahead of them with a pair of midweek games, starting Tuesday when they host Baylor at Don Sanders Stadium. They will follow that up with a trip to UT Arlington to make up a game rained out two weeks ago.
Game 1 – Box Score (continuation of game begun on 4/7)
Sam Houston 7, Nicholls 5
The Bearkats used a big second inning and strong relief pitching to pick up a wire-to-wire win, 7-5, in the resumption of a game that began Saturday night at Ray E. Didier Field.
Seth Ballew came on to start Sunday morning after Hayden Wesneski had begun the second game of the series on Saturday. The left-hander tossed 6.0 innings, allowing just one earned run while punching out six to earn his second win of the year. Dakota Mills would allow a run in the ninth, but still did enough to earn his second save of the weekend and seventh of the season.
Offensively, Jaxxon Grisham had a pair of hits and four RBI, all coming on one swing of the bat when he connected on a grand slam in the second inning. Conversely, Jordan Cannon used three swings to drive in three runs of his own and was one of four Kats with at least two hits in the game. Clayton Harp also had three singles while Hunter Hearn had a pair of singles with two walks.
For the second straight night the Bearkats jumped on a Colonel starter in the second inning, this time the victim being Hatcher. He had issued just four walks in 43.0 innings entering the night, but walked one in the first and then two more in the second. Fregia drew the first of those second-inning walks eventually, coming in to score on an RBI single by Jordan Cannon.
Chase Cryer was then hit by a pitch to load the bases, bringing up Grisham who delivered an early knockout punch, running the count to 3-1 before launching his one out to deep right field for a grand slam that ballooned the lead to 5-0.
Play advanced into the third with the Colonels putting each of the first two runners of the inning on base before play was halted due to the inclement weather. The teams returned Sunday morning with Ballew on the hill for the Kats, but two errors in the third and another in the fourth allowed Nicholls to put up three runs.
Sam got a run back in the fifth on the second RBI single of the game by Cannon and two innings later he brought home another one with a sacrifice fly, upping the lead to 7-3.
Game 2 – Box Score
Nicholls 4, Sam Houston 3
In the finale, Nicholls starter Jacob Bedavian was a riddle throughout the afternoon, earning his first victory of the year with 8.1 innings in leading the Colonels to a 4-3 win.
Sam Houston pitchers would allow only four hits on the day, but a key error in the first inning and four walks proved costly in the game. Chisolm and Cannon each homered off of Bedavian, but the Kats only managed three other hits despite hitting the ball well throughout the game.
Gabriel Sequeira got the start and struck out seven in 5.2 innings, but issued four walks and allowed three runs in falling to 3-2 on the season. Riley Gossett also tossed 2.0 strong frames and Kyle Backhus got a key out in the eighth when the Colonels were trying to add insurance to their lead.
Nicholls got on the board unconventionally in the opening inning, using an infield hit, error and walk to load the bases with their first three hitters. The Kats then got a pair of outs on a ground ball, with a runner’s interference call keeping a run off the board; however, one pitch after the double play, Ethan Valdez would scamper home on Sequeira’s only wild pitch of the day to put the Colonels up 1-0.
Meanwhile, Bedavian held the Kats without a hit until the fourth when Chisolm blasted a two-out, two-run homer over the right-field fence to vault the Bearkats in front 2-1. But that lead would not last past the next half inning when Chet Niehaus turned on a 1-0 pitch from Sequeira and kept a two-run homer of his own just inside the right-field pole that put the Colonels up 3-2.
Bedavian coasted through each of the next three innings, retiring eight in a row before a single from Clayton Harp in the seventh. He would get another run of insurance when a two-out walk to Niehaus came around to score on a water-logged double to right field by Xane Washington in the sixth.
But the Bearkats were not quite done putting the pressure on as they cut the lead down to 4-3 when Cannon launched a leadoff homer to left-center field to open the eighth. Ben Haefner then reached on a single, but the Colonel starter was able to dial up a key double-play ball one batter later to end that threat.
Gossett and Backhus would toss a scoreless eighth to bring the Kats back up to bat in the ninth and Sam Houston quickly had life when Jack Rogers reached base on a Colonel error to open the inning. But Bedavian would get a fly out by Hearn to deep center field before Nicholls turned to Autin to face Chisolm. The lefty then struck out the Sam Houston slugger on a 3-2 pitch and catcher Kyle Knauth threw out pinch runner Mac Odom at second base for a game-ending double play.
Coach Matt Deggs on the series at Nicholls …
“I’m really proud of our group, coming in here and winning the series. Any time you can come into Nicholls State and win two out of three, that is a big deal. This is an incredibly tough place to play. Then you factor in the conditions we had today – 40 degree temperatures when we are in the middle of springtime, windy and wet – and I was proud of us for coming out and finishing that first game.”
Deggs on the second game on Sunday …
“Their kid pitched the ball extremely well in the second game. You have to tip your cap to him. We hit a ton of balls right on the screws, but right at them. But it’s a funny game. If you issue free passes and don’t take care of the baseball, that is going to come back to bite you. We didn’t play extremely well today, but I liked the way we competed. It is what it is, but any time you can start 11-0 it’s a good thing. If you win 11 out of every 12 in the conference, you’re going to set some records. I like where we are at and we are going to keep getting better.”
Deggs on Seth Ballew’s outing in the first game of the day …
“It was basically a start for him. I thought he came in and pitched a gem for us. He had 3-4 pitches going and kept them off balance. We just have to defend it a little bit better, but it was a tough day. There’s no excuses and in all we had a really good week. Winning three out of four on the road is a good week. To win a series on the road is a good week. We’ll keep grinding.”