Right fielder Travis Lee had three hits and drove in three runs to lead Sam Houston State to a 5-4 win over Stephen F. Austin in the series opener Friday night at Don Sanders Stadium. The win extends the Bearkats’ (32-14, 14-8 SLC) winning streak to six games.
“Its big time for us to keep winning games. It’s great to keep rolling on and on and hopefully we’ll keep doing this throughout the year,” Travis Lee said. “We just take it one game at a time. We got guys on base tonight and we kept getting them in.”
The three hits and three RBI are career highs for Lee, a junior transfer from Paris Junior College. Lee had RBI-singles in the second, fourth and fifth innings. His hit in the second opened the scoring and the fourth-inning single tied the game.
The Bearkats had a 5-2 lead before the Lumberjacks (17-28, 8-14 SLC) scored a run in each the seventh and eighth innings.
Ryan Brinley pitched the ninth inning and registered his seventh save of the season. The sophomore transfer has recorded the save in each of the Kats last four games. Brinley extended his scoreless innings streak to 9 2/3 innings.
“It was a good team win tonight and we had guys come up big in the lineup,” said Brinley. “Travis had a good night and had a couple RBIs for us. Everyone was battling and doing their part. It’s been my job lately to come in and close out and I just go out there and throw strikes and try to get outs.”
Nolan Riggs was asked to get one out in the eighth inning. He extended his scoreless streak to 10 2/3 innings pitched.
Starter Tyler Eppler tossed seven innings and allowed three runs on seven hits. The junior right-hander allowed a two-run go-ahead homer in the second but his team retook the lead in the next frame.
First baseman Ryan O’Hearn was 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles. His two-bagger in the sixth inning provided the game-winning run.
The Bearkats are now just one game out of first place in the Southland Conference standings. Nicholls and A&M-Corpus Christi are tied for first while the Kats are knotted up with McNeese State.
The series continues Saturday at 4:00 p.m. and concludes Sunday at 1:00 p.m.