HUNTSVILLE – The Sam Houston State offense never could get going on Sunday in its finale against Stephen F. Austin as the Lumberjacks avoided the sweep with a 2-1 win at Don Sanders Stadium.
Lumberjack starter Trevor Kiminski became the first SFA (13-22, 5-10 SLC) starting pitcher to work into the seventh inning this year, earning just his second win of the season. The right-hander logged 6.1 innings on the day, allowing only one run on three hits and three strikeouts for his second win of the year. From there the 'Jacks woudl turn to their bullpen who allowed just one hit in the final 2.2 frames as the Bearkats (25-11, 13-2 SLC) tied a season low with just four total hits on the day.
Bearkat starter Hayden Wesneski, took the loss to fall to 2-2 on the year, scattering four hits in his 6.2 innings of work. The sophomore struck out three, but was hampered by four walks in what was his 10th start this season. Brad Demco and Riley Gossett pitched an inning each, striking out two apiece.
Of Sam Houston's four hits, only one went for extra bases. That came in the third inning on a leadoff triple by Jack Rogers off of Kiminski, leading to the lone Bearkat run of the day on a sacrifice fly from Jordan Cannon. Stephen F. Austin responded with a score of their own in the fifth on a two-out RBI single by Jake Georgaides that scored Nic Minor from second to tie it up at 1-1.
But it was Eric DeJesus' solo blast in the top of the sixth that proved to be the difference as he took Wesneski deep over the right-field fence with two outs in the inning to put the 'Jacks in front for good.
Sam Houston had its chances to either tie or take the lead, but stranded five runners on base - four in scoring position - in the final three innings. No opportunity was better than in the seventh when a pair of hit batters and a walk loaded the bases with just one out. But SFA's Caleb Adams answered with a key strikeout of Rogers before reliever Austin Hearn got Cannon to fly out to leave the bases juiced.
The Kats had one final chance in the ninth when Ben Haefner drew a two-out walk against SFA stopper Tyler Starks, and pinch runner Mac Odom moved to second on a wild pitch. But he would get no further as Starks got pinch hitter Chase Cryer to fly out to center field to secure his second save of the season.
The Kats have a two game midweek series against Houston with the first game in Houston on Tuesday and the second at home on Wednesday, both games first pitch starts at 6:30.
Coach Deggs opening statement…
“I thought it was a great pitching performance from both ends. Their starting pitcher (Kiminski) threw the ball very well. Hayden Wesneski also threw the ball well with his sinker, breaking ball and changeup, but we made one mistake and they hit it out of the ballpark. It was nice to see Brad Demco come in and continue what he has been doing for us from the left side. But the name of the game today was that it was a slow day offensively with real heavy wind in your face and we were not able to get anything going today. This league is a grind and a battle every week. It boils down to the fact that no one is going to give Sam Houston State anything in this league, but we have go out and take it.”
Coach Deggs on the bounce back this week…
“They are the same dudes every game and they are pretty much impervious to the scoreboard, record and whatever else is going on. It was good to see the respond and get a big series win over our rivals.”
Coach Deggs on leaving runners on base…
“You have to tip your cap to Kiminski and their bullpen who threw the ball really well. What helped them today was that they were able to pitch to the windy side of the field and get a lot of early, weak outs. When that starts to happen it is a recipe for disaster and we were never able to overcome it.”