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Courtesy: GoBearkats.com
Nine game winning streak
Courtesy: Gene Schallenberg/Huntsville Item
Release: 03/06/2011
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 For the second weekend in a row, the Bearkats not just hosted a tournament, but they owned it.

Thanks to stellar pitching performances from senior Brandon Kimbrel and freshman Caleb Smith, Sam Houston made short work of Michigan and Massachusetts, shutting out the Wolverines 8-0 and beating the Minutemen 6-2 to sweep Sunday's doubleheader, which capped off another perfect weekend.

"We feel good because we're starting to gell," Bearkats center fielder Mark Hudson said. "The pitchers are really giving us an opportunity to win because they're throwing a lot of strikes, pounding the zone because they trust their stuff. The defense is doing good. We're really confident about this team."

In the final game of the tournament, the Bearkats, who improved to 10-2 with their ninth straight win, jumped on top with three runs in the first two innings.

In the first, Hudson brought home a pair of runs on a two-run single to center field. Then in the second inning, second baseman Ryan Mooney's single gave Sam Houston a 3-0 advantage.

That was all the Kats needed as Smith (2-0), who got his first collegiate start, was dealing on the mound.

"I was just hitting my spots pretty good," the freshman said of his performance. "I was filling up the zone and just letting my defense work for me. It was pretty exciting."

Massachusetts left fielder Kyle Multner sent a hard grounder past second base in the second inning for the Minutemen's first hit of the game. That was the only hit Smith allowed as he struck out seven batters, while walking just one in six innings of work. Nearly every out Massachusetts had while Smith was pitching were infield grounders.

"Caleb Smith was just outstanding today," Sam Houston head coach Mark Johnson said. "He walked his first guy in the sixth inning. He threw minimal pitches. He had just a dynamite off-speed pitch going. He was throwing at a high velocity, too. For a freshman, that's as good as you're going to get. That was really, really good."

The Minutemen (0-4 overall) broke onto the scoreboard for a run in both the seventh and ninth innings, but the Kats had already enough cushion following a pair of runs in the fifth and one more in the seventh.

In the early game against Michigan (2-9), the Kats had another pitching gem from Brandon Kimbrel (1-0).

The senior right-hander scattered just five hits over seven innings with nine strikeouts and two walks.

"Kimbrel was Kimbrel," Johnson said. "He used both sides of the plate against a pretty good hitting ballclub and nullified them a little bit. He used the off-speed pitch and was effective today."

After going scoreless in the first three frames, Sam Houston's offense clicked into gear as the Kats scored 10 runs between the fourth and the seventh innings.

Hudson blasted his first homer of the season and both right fielder Greg Olson and catcher John Hale drove in a pair of runs.

"Our hitting coach (Jim Blair) told us to try to take their away their off-speed pitch," Hudson said, "not to necessarily sit on it, but anticipate it. We were ready to hit and visualized where to hit it."

Sam Houston reliever Michael Oros finished off the Wolverines, allowing just one hit and two walks in the final two innings.

Before kicking off Southland Conference play against UT-Arlington, beginning on Friday, the red-hot Bearkats head to Houston to take on 21st-ranked Rice in Houston.

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