After leading by as many as seven runs midway through the game, Sam Houston State had to hald off a hard charging Lamar squad for a 9-8 victory Saturday at Vincent-Beck Stadium Saturday.

Sam Houston State (20-13, 8-6 Southland) won its third-consecutive game, while Lamar (20-13, 10-4) suffered its third loss in as many games this week.

Leading 6-0 going into the fifth inning, Sam Houston State made it 7-0 on a Seth Hammock home run to left field. The Cardinals then started their rally as they scored five runs on five hits in the bottom of the fifth. The Bearkats added two more in the seventh on a two-run bloop double down the right field line by Nick Zaleski. Travis Dunson joined the long ball parade as he belted a solo shot in the bottom of the seventh for his second of the season - and the fourth combined by the two teams Saturday.

Sam Houston looked as though it was going to break the game open in the eighth as the Bearkats loaded the bases with one out. But reliever Matt Gore came on and struck out Bobby Verbick and got Hammock to pop-out to end the threat.

Lamar came out in the eighth and scored two runs on two hits but was unable to do any further damage and stranded a pair of men, including one at third base. That was how the score stood through the ninth when Bearkat reliever Zac Baker retired the Cardinals in order and earned his second save of the year. He went 2.2 innings and struck out three while allowing a pair of runs on two hits.

Brent Powers (2-1) earned the win in relief after throwing 1.2 innings and facing just six batters. He replaced starter Guillaume Duguay after 4.2 innings. Matt Morgal (3-2) got the loss for Lamar after allowing six runs on six hits in 4.0 innings. He also struck out three but hit two batters.

Keith Stein led Sam Houston with a 3-for-4 day at the plate and hit his sixth home run in the fourth inning. He had three RBI and scored three times. Ryan Trevino, Jaime Rohlmeier and Zaleski all had two hits.

The Bearkats will go for the three-game series sweep on Sunday at 1 p.m.