HUNTSVILLE – Sam Houston State turned two early double plays, keeping Louisiana off the board, but mistakes turned costly through the middle frames in a 6-1 loss on Saturday afternoon at Don Sanders Stadium.
The home series loss is the first for No. 18 Sam Houston in the Matt Deggs era with the last coming March 28-30, 2014 against Northwestern State. The Bearkats had won 16 straight.
One game after producing two hits in a 2-0 loss, the Kats (2-4) were held to five. Louisiana (3-2) starter Nick Lee (2-0) tossed seven innings, permitting five hits and one run while striking out eight and walking another. Sam Houston’s Seth Ballew (0-1) pitched 4 1-3 innings, allowing seven hits along with three runs and as many walks.
The Bearkats will look to salvage the series finale against No. 13 Ragin’ Cajuns on Sunday, scheduled for 1 p.m. The Bearkats will send right-handed freshman Hayden Wesneski to the mound as he searches for his second win. Tickets are available by visiting GoBearkats.com.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Louisiana threatened in the first, loading the bases with no outs courtesy of a leadoff walk and pair of singles but Ballew buckled down. The left-hander got Handsome Monica to pop out to second before inducing a 5-4-3 twin killing.
Sam Houston’s defense continued to shine in the second, turning its second double play after a leadoff single. Andrew Fregia made the final play of the frame, charging a slow dribbler, fielding the ball on one hop and gunning out Kennon Fontenot at first.
In the third, the Ragin’ Cajuns put runners on the corners with one out as Ishmael Edwards posted Louisiana’s fifth hit on the game, roping a single to right, moving Brenn Conrad to third. The Cajuns turned to small ball, but was unsuccessful in bringing home Conrad on a squeeze bunt as he stayed put on the fielder's choice. One hitter later, Monica grounded to second as the Cajuns stranded the fourth runner in three innings.
Lance Miles provided the Bearkats first hit, breaking out of a 0-for-12 slump, with a leadoff single in the third. The senior moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Taylor Beene but was eventually stranded at third on a three-pitch strikeout from Lee.
Sam Houston got on the board in the fifth, thanks to some timely hitting from Beene. The shortstop lined an RBI single through the right side, moving Blake Chisolm, who logged his first-career hit with a first-pitch single to left, to third while scoring Jaxxon Grisham, who led off with a single.
The Bearkats thought they added another run as Bryce Johnson hit a hard shot to the right side to Alex Pinero. The first baseman threw out Beene at second but with Chisolm racing home, the designated hitter was called out at the plate.
The Cajuns pushed their lead back to fourth with an insurance run in the eighth. Lott registered his fourth hit of the game, belting a solo home run over the left-field wall, ending the day for reliever Jordan Cannon, who permitted four hits and two runs in 2 2-3 innings.
Louisiana got some help adding another run in the frame as Robie Rojas attempted to throw out Logan Stoelke at third but the throw escaped into left field, scoring the runner to give the Cajuns 6-1 advantage.
Head coach Matt Deggs on the loss…
“They beat us up pretty good today. We weren’t ready to go. We’re still trying to shake off two close losses and didn’t respond today. I am pretty disappointed in that. Our approach is not very good. We’re not responding like I know we’re capable of. They’re exposing some holes we’re going to have to improve.”
Head coach Matt Deggs on losing the home series…
“We need a little more urgency. This is definitely not the way we drew it up. We’re behind the eight-ball a little bit. We’re going to have to play better baseball. We’re going to have to have a better approach at the dish and execute better all the way around … especially against good ball clubs.”
Shortstop Taylor Beene on the defeat…
“They’re going to turn around. We just have to keep coming and battle back. We’re a confident team and we’ll get back in it tomorrow. They’re a good team. They come out and compete and have good arms and good hitters. We have to match them. We’re going to pick up our hitting.”