HOUSTON – The Houston Cougars scored six unanswered runs in the first four innings and did not look back, picking up a 9-4 win over Sam Houston State on Tuesday night at Schroeder Park.
The loss snaps a four-game win streak in the Don Sanders Cup series for the Bearkats (25-12) over Houston (22-14) over the past two seasons. Sam Houston staked itself to an early 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the first against UH starter Lael Lockhart, but the Cougars answered with two runs apiece in the first, third and fourth innings to take control.
Grayson Padgett had three RBI for the Cougars and Tyler Bielamowicz added two more as part of a 10-hit Cougar attack that connected for at least one run off of four Sam Houston pitchers. That made a winner of Lockhart, who moved to 1-0 on the year, after striking out five hitters in 4.1 innings before being lifted in a predetermined start.
Kyle Backhus took his first loss of the season for the Kats, allowing four runs on four hits in just 2.0+ innings of work. Riley Gossett also worked 3.0 innings, but Landon Ausley was the highlight of the night for Sam Houston. The freshman allowed one run on one hit early in his 3.0-inning outing, but was nearly untouchable the rest of the way, striking out eight hitters in total and seven of the last eight batters he faced in the game.
Sam finished with just seven hits in the game with Blake Chisolm turning in the only multi-hit game of the evening, reaching base four times with an RBI triple in the seventh inning. Clayton Harp and Andrew Fregia also picked up RBI, while Eric Bohnert and Jordan Cannon each picked up a double.
Sam Houston will turn around and take on the Cougars one more time this week on Wednesday in Huntsville. First pitch is set for 6:30 pm at The Don and will be aired on Eleven Sports.
It took no time at all for the Bearkats to put themselves in business as Bohnert slammed the first pitch of the game into the left-center field gap for a leadoff double. A sac bunt and two hit batters later the Kats had the bases loaded and got their first run of the game home on a sacrifice fly by Fregia. Harp followed that up with a single to right field, scoring Hunter Hearn to give Sam Houston an early 2-0 advantage.
Houston answered in the bottom half of the inning, scoring twice despite getting just one hit in the inning, which came via Jared Triolo’s one-out double. The next four consecutive Cougars would then reach base on three walks and a hit batter, with walks from Backhus to both Padgett and Cooper Coldiron bringing home runs to tie it up at 2-2.
Backhus put up a zero in the second inning, but a leadoff double by Bielamowicz opened the third and was followed one batter later by an RBI triple by Padgett to give the Cougars a 3-2 lead. The Kats then went to the bullpen for Gossett, but the right-hander issued a wild pitch that scored Padgett before getting Coldiron to fly out on his way to retiring three of the inning’s final four hitters.
The Cougars added on to their 4-2 lead with two more runs in the fourth, an inning that opened with a leadoff double by Connor Hollis. Two batters later Lockhart doubled over the head of Bohnert in left field for an RBI and eventually came in to score, making it a 6-2 game on a single by Bielamowicz.
Sam Houston ran its way into a run in the visiting of the fifth to cut the lead back down to 6-3. A leadoff double by Jordan Cannon was followed by a wild pitch and a walk to Bohnert to quickly put runners on the corners. The Kats then executed a successful double steal with Bohnert taking second base and Cannon sliding in safely at home for the third Bearkat run of the night. The Kats had a chance to add on, but reliever Kyle Ott was able to get a grounder off the bat of Hearn before striking out Fregia to leave a pair of runners on base.
The Cougars added back on to their lead in the sixth, quickly getting to Bearkat reliever Dominic Robinson for a run just two batters into the frame on an RBI double by Triolo. A Bearkat error and a walk by reliever Ausley then put runners on the corners with just one out and Bielamowicz picked up an RBI on a squeeze bunt and Padgett followed that up with an RBI single of his own to give Houston a 9-3 lead.
A two-out single by Hearn gave the Bearkats something to work with in the seventh, and Chisolm cashed in on that chance, picking up an RBI with a one-hop triple off the right-center field wall that cut the UH lead to 9-4.