NEW ORLEANS – Seth Ballew tossed his first complete game as a Bearkat, leading Sam Houston State to an 8-2 win over New Orleans on Sunday afternoon, clinching a series victory at Maestri Field.
Ballew scattered nine hits and struck out three, but issued just one walk and allowed two runs on his day, picking up his first victory of the season. That effort, coupled with a 12-hit effort by the Bearkat (15-6, 7-2 SLC) offense propelled the Kats to their seventh consecutive series victory on the road in Southland Conference play over the past two seasons.
The Bearkats did not trail for the entire weekend with the exception of Saturday’s walk-off defeat in extra innings to the Privateers (13-10, 3-6 SLC), and moved into a tie for first place with league rival Stephen F. Austin with the series win.
Riley McKnight paced the offensive attack with a 4-for-4 game, scoring twice and driving in a pair of runs in what was the second four-hit game of his career and the first since his freshman season in 2016. Jordan Cannon delivered a pair of hits and had an RBI, while Jack Rogers had three hits, including two doubles, an RBI and two runs scored.
While the Kats were turning a pair of double plays behind Ballew to get to the finish line, UNO committed was forced to use five pitchers after starter Chris DeMayo lasted just 2.0 innings. The lefty allowed a pair of runs and walked three, taking the loss to fall to 0-3 on the season.
The Kats will open up its annual battle for the Don Sanders Cup on Tuesday when it travels to Don Sanders Field at Schroeder Park to face off with the Houston Cougars. The game can be followed via live stats and on Twitter by following @BearkatsBSB. An audio and video broadcast are each available at UHCougars.com.
Sam Houston struck early in the game to stake itself to a lead, doing all of its damage with two outs. Rogers drove in the game’s first run by roping a double into the right-field corner off of DeMayo that scored Cannon all the way from first base. The UNO starter followed with consecutive walks to Diego Davila and Eric Bohnert, setting up McKnight who lined an RBI single to left field that gave the Kats a 2-0 lead.
Top 2 | 2 out— Sam Houston Baseball (@BearkatsBSB) March 24, 2019
SHSU 1 | UNO 0
On. The Board.
Jack Rogers ropes an RBI double into the RF corner, scoring Jordan Cannon all the way from 1B to give the Kats the early lead. #EatEmUpKats
The Kats got another run apiece in the third and fourth innings on RBI singles from Cannon and McKnight, but the Privateers tried to mount a rally in the home half of the fifth. Trailing 4-0, UNO got a run back on an RBI single by Jorge Tejeda to cut the lead to 4-1. Brayden Morrow followed with a single to bring the tying run to the plate, but Ballew responded by getting Salo Iza to ground into the first of consecutive inning-ending double plays to quell the rally.
End 5— Sam Houston Baseball (@BearkatsBSB) March 24, 2019
SHSU 4 | UNO 1
Ballew gives up another single, but then gets another double play to get out of the threat.
7-8-9 in the Kats' order coming up. #EatEmUpKats
The teams traded runs in the sixth and seventh, but with Sam Houston leading 5-2 entering the ninth, the Bearkats used the top half of the inning to deliver a knockout blow. Each of the first three Bearkat hitters of the inning reached to load the bases, setting up Clayton Harp who stepped to the plate and delivered a two-run, pinch-hit single on the first pitch he saw. Two batters later Gavin Johnson delivered a pinch-hit sacrifice fly to plate Colton Cowser, giving Ballew a comfortable 8-2 lead entering the final half inning.