The Bearkats took advantage of four Highlander errors and totaled 11 hits. Third baseman Kevin Miller went 3-for-4 with four RBIs including a pair of doubles as Sam Houston upped its season record to 5-4. UC-Riverside dropped to 3-6.
Bearkat starter Cody Dickson (1-1) picked up his first victory of the year, allowing only four hits in seven innings facing 26 batters. Dickson faced early adversity as Highlanders right fielder Phil Holinsworth sailed a long fly ball to the opposite field, just over the right-field fence for a home run in the first inning.
Then in the second, Dickson had Riverside baserunners on first and third with no outs off of back-to-back singles. But he kept the damage to a minimum, allowing just one run in the second to keep the Bearkats within striking distance.
"I thought where he grew up was when he had first and third with nobody out," Head Coach David Pierce said. "He really didn't panic. In that situation, first and third and nobody out, you don't want to give up anything, but really staying out of the big inning was a really good job by defense and by Cody. We traded three outs for a run in that situation. I'll take that most every day."
Over the next three innings, Dickson settled in and kept the Highlanders hitless, allowing the Bearkat fielders to get comfortable and make plays.
Left fielder Luke Plucheck reached first on an error and scored on a single by third baseman Kevin Miller to tie the game 1-1 in the bottom of the first.
UCR jumped back in front 2-1 in top of the second as second baseman Ed Young singled, reached third on an error then reached home on an infield out. Sam Houston responded in the bottom of the second as right fielder Jake Arrington doubled, reached third on an error and scored on a sacrifice fly by shortstop Corey Toups.
The Bearkats took their first lead of the game as first baseman Ryan O'Hearn reached on an error then scored on a double to left field by third baseman Kevin Miller in the bottom of the third inning.
Sam Houston added two more runs in the fourth. Arrington walked, was sacrificed to second and scored on a single by Toups. Then Toups scored on the Highlanders' fourth error.
Miller's two-run double, an RBI single by designated hitter Tate Baker and catcher Anthony Azar's sacrifice fly put four more runs on the board in the bottom of the seventh inning. Hollingsworth blasted a triple to right center for another RBI in the top of the eighth inning. Left fielder Clayton Prestridge added an RBI in the inning as well.
Michael Oros pitched the final two innings.
The pair meet in the second game of the series at 4 p.m. Saturday. The series finale will be play Sunday at 1 p.m.
Tickets for Sam Houston home baseball games are available on www.gobearkats.com/tickets or at the Sam Houston State athletic ticket office at (936) 294-1729.