Cody Dickson came within one out of a complete game, surrendering only four hits, and right fielder Jake Arrington had a two-run homer as Sam Houston defeated Stephen F. Austin 5-2 Friday night at Don Sanders Stadium.
Originally scheduled for 6:30 p.m. the game did not start until 8:32 due to rain. The contest was the 2012 Southland Conference opener for both teams.
Sam Houston (8-5, 1-0) totaled 11 hits while Stephen F. Austin (5-9, 0-1) had four. Michael Oros was credited with the save.
"Any time there's a rain delay, you've just got to stay focused. If you sit around, it kind of gets boring, but you just try to keep the mood light and not get too stiff," Kats right fielder Jake Arrington said. "We came out here focused because we knew it was a conference game. We wanted to get out here early and win it and we did."
Arrington took the lead from cleanup hitter Anthony Azar, who singled to begin the bottom of the second on a ball that zipped under pitcher Justin Choate's glove. Arrington lined a shot that carried over the left-field wall to give the Kats an early 2-0 advantage.
"I was just going up there looking for a fastball to hit. They gave it to me and I stayed short to the ball. It found the barrel and it went out," Arrington said.
That was just the beginning of a big inning for Sam Houston.
With runners on first and third with two outs, left fielder Luke Plucheck hit a hard chopper up the middle that brought in third baseman Ryan Farney and second baseman Jessie Plumlee.
"Offensively, the big second inning and that big blow by Jake really got us going," Sam Houston head coach David Pierce said.
The Lumberjacks answered in the third with a run off a two-out single by shortstop Hunter Dozier.
That was all SFA could muster as Dickson threw scoreless innings until the ninth. The sophomore left-hander struck out eight and walked four, holding the Lumberjacks to just four hits and two runs, one of which was earned, in 8 2/3 innings.
Reliever Michael Oros got the final out in the ninth, striking out SFA center fielder Rory Myers to end the game.
"I felt great. I wish I could've finished it out, but luckily we have a great bullpen so Oros came in and did well," Dickson said.
"It's a team game. I let my defense do a lot of work tonight and they did exceptionally well."
Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin will meet in the second game of the series at 2 p.m. Saturday.