Tyler Eppler tossed his third career complete game and struck out a career high nine batters to lead the Sam Houston baseball team to a 3-1 win over Houston Baptist Friday in Houston. The Bearkats (35-14, 17-8 SLC) and Huskies (22-24, 11-14 SLC) will play game two Saturday at 1 p.m.
Sam Houston took an early lead when shortstop Corey Toups led off the second inning with a home run to left center field. The homer is Toups’ fifth this season and his first since the Abilene Christian series.
Houston Baptist tied the game in the fourth after three straight one-out singles. Eppler was able to work out of the jam without any more damage.
The junior right-hander retired the next 12 batters after allowing the RBI single in the fourth. A bunt single in the eighth inning provided the only other base runner from the fifth through ninth innings.
Designated hitter Hayden Simerly gave the Kats the lead right back in the fifth inning. Right fielder Travis Lee reached on an error to lead off the inning. Colt Atwood singled on a hit-and-run play to advance Lee top third. Simerly drove in the game-winning run with an RBI groundout.
The Kats would tack on an insurance run in the sixth inning. Toups led off the frame with a walk before third baseman Ryan Farney reached on a dropped fly ball in right field. Left fielder Luke Plucheck came through with a sacrifice fly to make the score 3-1.
Eppler picked up his third consecutive win and his seventh overall this season. The Navasota product has been exception recently with two complete games in his last three starts. He has also lowered his earned run average to 3.70 for the season.