The top two hitters in the Sam Houston State batting order combined for six hits, four RBI, and two runs scored to lead the Bearkats (19-9, 4-4) to a 9-4 win over Northwestern State. The win evens the series at a game apiece and sets up a rubber match Sunday at 1 p.m.

Lead-off hitter Colt Atwood finished the game 3-for-5 with two RBI while first basemen Ryan O’Hearn, who batted second, was 3-for-4 with two RBI. The offensive production spilled over to the three-hole as well. Catcher Anthony Azar started the game batting third and drove in a run on a ground out. He was replaced by Hunter Courson who went 1-for-3 with two RBI.

“We actually left some runs out there but when you get six hits and four RBI from your one and two hole hitters you’re usually going to have some production and we got some production from the bottom of the order too,” head coach David Pierce said. “Overall we have a very balanced team and if we can get things going we can put pressure on people. We did that today.”

Sam Odom was called on to pitch 5 1/3 innings out of the bullpen after starting pitcher Dirk Masters allowed three runs on two hits in 3 2/3 innings pitched. Odom allowed one unearned run on two hits and three walks. Odom picked up the win and moved to 5-1 this season.

After the Demons scored a pair of runs in the first inning the Bearkats had to chip away at the lead. SHSU scored a run in the first inning and two runs in the third inning to briefly take the lead before Northwestern tied it in the top of the fourth.

The Kats broke the game open with a four-run bottom of the fourth. Shortstop Corey Toups led it off with a double and third baseman Carter Burgess reached on an infield bunt single. Second baseman Shea Pierce drove in the first run on a fielder’s choice groundout.

Left fielder Luke Plucheck and Atwood each singled to load the bases before O’Hearn came through with a two-RBI single to right field. Courson hit an infield single to make the Bearkat lead 7-3. Plucheck ended up with a solid game at the plate, going 2-for-2 and scoring three runs.

Jason Simms is scheduled to take the mound for Sunday’s rubber match. The start will be the second of his career after he picked up the win over Texas A&M Tuesday.