Shea Pierce delivered a walk-off single to right field to give Sam Houston State a 2-1 win over first place Southeastern Louisiana in the series opener Friday. Pierce’s clutch hit backed up a complete-game performance by pitcher Tyler Eppler.
“It’s pretty amazing. I haven’t had a big time hit like that since I can remember. I’ve been struggling a little bit and he just hung me a slider and I put a swing on it and it found a hole,” junior second basemen Shea Pierce said of his walk-off hit. “I just did what I could and we won the game. That’s all that matters.”
Eppler allowed just one run in his second complete-game of the season. The Lions totaled eight hits off of Eppler but most of them were hit softly. He worked out of jams in the early innings and got better as the game went along.
Southeastern Louisiana starter Andro Cutura was nearly as good, shutting the Bearkats down for eight innings. The righty allowed just one hit through the first seven frames and only three through eight.
“Two great pitchers went at it tonight. Tyler Eppler and Andro Cutura were very good tonight,” head coach David Pierce said. “That was a typical Friday night game and that’s how it’s supposed to be. It was a tough fight all night against Cutura and Eppler matched him.”
SHSU catcher Anthony Azar, who was the only Bearkat with a pair of hits in the game, got the rally started in the ninth with a lead-off double. First baseman Ryan O’Hearn grounded out to advance pinch-runner Wyatt Powell to third base before Carter Burgess delivered a clutch game-tying RBI-single up the middle.
Reliever Mason Klotz came into the game and struck out shortstop Corey Toups before allowing the game-winning hit to Pierce. Burgess moved to second on a wild pitch to set up Pierce’s big hit.
The second game of the series is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. Saturday and the series finale is Sunday at 1:00 p.m.