HUNTSVILLE Shortstop Jon Reed went 4-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs and Dallas Gallant pitched five innings for the victory as Sam Houston State defeated Creighton 8-6 in the season opener for both baseball teams at Don Sanders Stadium Friday night.

 

Reed, a junior transfer from Iowa Western Community College, picked up his RBIs in the Kats’ three-run sixth inning. Sophomore second baseman Braeden Riley added three hits, including his first collegiate home run, a solo shot in the third. Riley scored three runs, while seniors Heath Pugh and Seth Hammock each added a pair of hits.

Creighton collected six hits and four runs off Bearkat starter Gallant, the hard-throwing right-hander from Trinity, who struck out six and walked two in five innings of work. Sophomore Justin Jackson pitched three strong innings in relief of Gallant, and sophomore Matt Shelton shut the door on the Bluejays in the ninth.

“When you come out on opening day, you don’t know what you’re going to get. You’ve just got to play and get started,” Bearkats coach Mark Johnson said after notching his first season-opening victory in three seasons at Sam Houston State. “Overall, I was pleased. Opening day was good.

“I was most impressed with our pitching,” the coach added. “Dallas established the strike zone early, and Justin did the same thing. Matt Shelton had a little trouble but he settled down and got the job done. We pitched three sophomores tonight against a good-hitting ballclub.”

The Bearkats showed signs of being pretty good with their bats this season. With a completely retooled outfield and Reed earning the vacant spot at short, SHSU banged out 13 hits against four Creighton pitchers. Only two of the Kats’ hits went for extra bases, but Johnson’s team delivered in the clutch in three innings.

After the Bluejays’ Jimmy Swift lined a two-run homer over the left-field fence in the second, the Bearkats responded with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the frame. Pugh ripped a double down the left-field line to score Reed, then left fielder Tyler Knight scored on Ryan Mooney’s sacrifice fly.

The Kats answered Creighton’s two-run fifth inning by hanging another deuce on the board. Riley scored the tying run on a wild pitch, then Sam Houston took the lead for good when Hammock scored on Nick Zaleski’s groundout to second.

SHSU added three big insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. Tyler Lundy and Riley scored on Reed’s single up the middle. Zaleski followed with an RBI single to right that scored Hammock.

“Finally, we got to play somebody in a different uniform,” Riley said. “We’ve been at it so long, playing intrasquad games. It was good to get out here and really compete. It looks like we picked up right where we left off last season.”

The Bearkats and Bluejays will be back at the ballpark for a doubleheader today starting at 1 p.m. SHSU right-hander Ryan Tepera (3-3, 6.24 ERA in 2008) is scheduled to start the first game against Creighton righty Mike Nihsen (5-2, 2.30).

In today’s late game, right-hander Jordan Westra, a junior transfer from Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, Mich., will start for the Kats against Bluejays righty Jonas Dufek, a sophomore from Omaha, Neb.

 

LINE SCORE:

 

Sam Houston St 8, Creighton 6 (Feb 20, 2009 at Huntsville, TX)

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Creighton........... 020 020 020  -  6  9  0      (1-0)

Sam Houston St...... 021 023 00X  -  8 13  0      (0-1)

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Pitchers: Creighton - Hauer, Jeremy; Lackovic, Bob(5); VanLeur, Jack(5); Patterson, Matt(8).

Sam Houston St - Gallant, Dallas; Jackson, Justin(6); Shelton, Matt(9).

Win-Gallant, Dallas(1-0)  Save-Shelton, Matt(1)  Loss-Hauer, Jeremy(0-1)  T-2:42  A-442

HR CU - Swift, Jimmy.

HR SHSU - Riley, Braeden.

Weather: Clear

Hauer faced 2 batters in the 5th.