HUNTSVILLE – The Wright State Raiders erupted for eight unanswered runs in their final two at-bats to stun the Sam Houston State Bearkats with a 10-6 win on Wednesday night at Don Sanders Stadium.
Sam Houston (6-2) looked to be in total control, holding a 6-2 lead going into the eighth inning after 4.2 stellar innings of relief pitching from Gabriel Sequeira who was in line for his first win of the season before the Raiders (3-5) got going.
Wright State got a three-run double from Zach Weatherford in the eighth to cut the lead to a run before tying it in the ninth on a sacrifice fly from Peyton Burdick. Two batters later, Seth Gray lined a grand slam out to left field with two outs in the inning to give Wright State its first and only lead of the game.
Sam Houston pounded out 14 hits on the night, but stranded a dozen runners on base while the Raiders managed to get eight of their 10 runs across the plate with two outs. The top third of the Bearkat lineup had half of the team’s seven hits, while Clayton Harp finished 3-for-5 with a homer and a double out of the nine-hole.
Hunter Hearn connected on his third homer of the year and had a pair of RBI while Andrew Fregia, Blake Chisolm and Trey Ochoa all had two hits apiece.
Sequeira needed 58 pitches to get through his 4.2 frames of relief of starter Dakota Mills. The sophomore southpaw struck out five, as did Mills, while allowing just one run on one hit. Nick Mikolajchak took his second loss of the season, allowing five runs in just an inning of work.
Jeremy Randolph was in the right place at the right time to pick up his first win of the season as one of seven arms Wright State used on the night. Starter Bear Bellomy did not make it out of the fourth inning after the Kats got to him for five runs in just 3.1 innings on the hill. Randolph, meanwhile, allowed a pair of hits but no runs in what was a scoreless eighth inning.
Sam Houston will now head to Minute Maid Park for three games against No. 12 Vanderbilt, No. 7 Kentucky and No. 21 Mississippi State this weekend at the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic. Each game will be aired on AT&T SportsNet or AT&T SportsNet alternate and streamed live on both MLB.tv and Astros.com. Tickets are available at GoBearkats.com.
Wright State scratched across a run in the top of the first on an RBI single by Gabe Snyder, but Sam Houston answered right back. The Kats used a pair of bunt singles and took advantage of a pair of balks by Bellomy to push across a pair of runs of their own. Singles by Chisolm and Ochoa put runners on the corners and Chisolm tied it when he crossed on a wild pitch. A bunt single from Fregia upped the runners a base and Hearn made it a 2-1 game with a ground out to shortstop, scoring Ochoa for Hearn’s 10th RBI of the season.
Sam Houston got only one hit in the third, but it was a big one. Bellomy retired each of the first two hitters he faced before running into Hearn who blasted a solo homer, his third of the season, out to left field to push the Bearkat lead to 3-1.
The Kats continued to add on in the home half of the fourth, tacking on a pair to their tally. Chisolm got the first run home with an RBI single to score Chase Cryer who had opened the inning with a single. Then, following a walk to Ochoa, Fregia got his first RBI of the night when he tugged a single into left field, making it 5-1 in scoring pinch runner Darien Simms.
Gray got his first RBI of the night in the sixth when he singled home Burdick to cut the lead to 5-2, but the Kats answered right back. Harp delivered the blow to do so, pushing the lead back to 6-2 with a solo homer just to the left-field side of the batter’s eye, his first homer of the year.
Riley Cooper came on to pitch the eighth and despite a one out walk, looked to be in position to get through the inning. But a second walk to gabe Snyder was followed by an infield hit by Gray which loaded the bases with two away. The Kats then turned to Mikolajchak out of the pen, but Weatherford went after the first pitch he saw and split the right-center field gap to clear the bases and cut the lead to 6-5.
Sam Houston could not take advantage of consecutive singles to lead off its half of the eighth and add on to its lead, and it turned costly an inning later. Pinch hitter JD Orr got it started by beating out an infield hit of his own and after a sacrifice bunt and a walk, the Raiders were in business. A second walk to Damon Dues loaded the sacks with one out and Burdick lifted a fly ball into deep center field to score Orr and tie it up at 6-6. The Kats elected to intentionally walk Snyder to reload the bases, but Gray was able to deliver on a 1-1 pitch when he sent a ball over the left-field fence to give Wright State a 10-6 lead.
Sam Houston would not go quietly in the ninth against reliever Derek Hendrixson, but the righty was still able to close the door. A single by freshman Eric Bohnert and a two-out walk to Mac Odom brought Harp back to the plate with the potential tying run on deck, but despite working the count full it was Hendrixson who won the battle by getting Harp to pop out to end the game.
QUOTABLES Coach Deggs on the loss to Wright State …
“Anytime you lose it takes the wind out of you. But we do an excellent job at bouncing back and these kids are resilient, they have incredibly short memories and we are playing a good baseball team. We had a couple of hiccups along the way where we could have added to the lead. Little things just added up on us until the end and they were able to capitalize on it. This is a very humbling game and sometimes you get humbled a little bit and that isn’t bad all the time. The good thing about this is that it is behind us now and now we get to go play at Minute Maid Park this weekend where the Astros play.”