HUNTSVILLE – The Sam Houston State Bearkats powered their way to a 13-8 win over Incarnate Word on Sunday afternoon, securing the weekend series at Don Sanders Stadium.
The Kats (12-5, 5-1 SLC) pounded out 15 hits, including six for extra bases, and had six players finish with multi-hit games. Much of that work came in a seven-run third inning and a four-run sixth.
UIW (11-8, 2-4 SLC) showed well offensively also, finishing with 16 hits of their own.
The Bearkats will welcome the Baylor Bears to Don Sanders Stadium on Tuesday with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m. The game will be aired on ESPN+
Matt Dillard entered just four batters into the game and threw admirably, allowing just one run on five hits in 3.1 innings. He struck out four hitters and walked just one to earn his first career victory.
Cody Wolf did not factor in the decision, but turned around just two days after throwing 2.0 innings on Friday to toss another 73 pitches in 4.2 innings of relief. The righty had just one strikeout, but did not walk a batter while allowing three runs.
Aaron Celestino entered with a 3-1 record and 0.84 ERA for the Cardinals, but did not make it out of the third inning in taking the loss. He allowed four runs and had jut one strikeout as the first of seven UIW pitchers to see time on the hill on Sunday.
BEARKAT KEY HITTERS
Sam Houston showed off its offense throughout the day with freshman Colton Cowser turning in the biggest afternoon, going 3-for-5 with three runs scored. He also crushed his third home run of the season in the sixth inning to cap a four-run inning.
Fellow freshman Diego Davila added three RBI on two extra-base hits of his own which incuded a three-run triple with two outs in the third inning. Gavin Johnson had a two-run single in that inning and also scored twice.
CARDINAL KEY HITTERS
Ryan Gonzalez was one of six UIW hitters to have multi-hit games, but led the way with three hits. He had a double and a triple, scoring once.
Bearkat starter Landon Ausley struggled early on, walking three of the first four hitters he faced, in addition to a two-run triple to Antonio Valdez that gave UIW an early lead. That prompted the Kats to quickly turn to Dillard and the freshman answered the bell, minimizing the damage by getting three of the four hitters he faced in the inning to keep the Kats down just 3-0.
The Kats were able to put together the big inning they needed in the third, getting the first two hitters on base before Cowser delivered an RBI single to left-center field that cut the lead to 3-2. UIW then went to the bullpen twice and got consecutive outs from two different pitchers with the bases loaded, but Gavin Johnson made sure the inning would not go for naught as he lined a two-run single to left-center to put the Kats in front 4-3. Reese Johnson was then hit by a pitch to re-load the bases and Davila followed by shooting a bases-clearning triple to score three runs into the right field corner. One batter later Jack Rogers drove him in with an RBI single, giving the Kats an 8-3 lead.
UIW got single runs in both the fourth and fifth, but the Kats essentially put it away with another big inning in the sixth. A leadoff double by Rogers was followed by a bunt single by McKnight that included a UIW error which allowed Rogers to score. One batter later Cowser launched the first pitch he saw over the right-field fence for a two-run homer to push the lead to 12-5. Hunter Hearn then followed with a double and Jordan Cannon followed that up with an RBI single to left field.
Matt Deggs on the victory, which clinched the series vs UIW …
“It was a gut check day. This league is a dog fight and I’ve said that for five years now. If you don’t show up ready to play and take care of business, you will get butt beat and that is what happened to us yesterday. I think it was actually good for us in some ways, we figured out a little bit about who we were today and that is a team that needs to win the intensity game, the hustle game, and the playing tough game. We came back out today and we took care of business. The Southland conference is no joke and there are teams that are hungry for us every time we take the field and we are not in a position to be chased. We need to turn back around and get in the scrap and that is what we did today.”