SAN MARCOS – Sam Houston State used a three-run home run from Blake Chisolm and a strong outing from starting pitcher Dakota Mills to break through in a 7-4 victory against Texas State on Tuesday night at Bobcats Stadium.
The Bearkats led by a run entering the seventh when Chisolm struck for his first home run with the Bearkats, a deep shot over the extended wall in center field, vaulting Sam Houston (4-4) to its seventh-straight victory against the Bobcats (3-6).
Meanwhile, Mills picked up his first victory, scattering seven hits in 5 2-3 innings while allowing three runs (two earned) and fanning six. Andrew Fregia, Clayton Harp and Lance Miles all collected an RBI while Fregia and Chisolm each plated two runs.
Freshman right-hander Nick Mikolajchak picked up his first career save, tossing the final 1 1-3 innings, striking out two while allowing one hit and no runs. Sam Houston pitching permitted just two walks on the night while drawing eight at the plate.
Sam Houston begins an eight-game homestand on Wednesday, hosting Pepperdine, presented by Villas on Sycamore at 6:30 p.m. from Don Sanders Stadium. General admission seats are available for $8 while reserved seats are on sale for $10 by calling the ticket office at (936) 294-1729.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Sam Houston jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, taking advantage of a leadoff walk from Bryce Johnson. The speedy center fielder, who stole three bags on the game, swiped second and came around to score as Andrew Fregia lined a base hit up the middle.
Blake Chisolm followed with an infield single, advancing Fregia to third. With Robie Rojas at the plate, the catcher hit a dribbler to third and Jaylen Hubbard’s throw home sailed wide, scoring Fregia.
The Bobcats, who stranded a pair of runners in the bottom half, got on the board in the second using a leadoff double from Benton and second-pitch RBI single up the middle to cut the lead in half. Sam Houston’s defense, highlighted by a pair of diving grabs from Josh Biles, saved further damage.
The Bearkats tacked on another in the third as pinch-hitter Clayton Harp rocked a single past the second baseman into right field, scoring Chisolm for a 3-1 advantage.
Texas State trimmed the Sam Houston lead once again, using a leadoff double and error on the play from Jaylen Hubbard to start the frame. The third baseman came home to score four pitches later as Travon Benton fought off a 1-2 pitch for an RBI single into center.
Mills would buckle down, however, striking out the next two hitters and Rojas posted his fourth caught stealing of the season, throwing out Benton on the hit-and-run.
In the fifth, after Johnson drew his second walk of the day, Mac Odom laid down a sacrifice bunt, beating the throw to third. One hitter later, the Bearkats pulled off the double steal but a line-drive double play and groundout ended the threat.
One inning later, Sam Houston would take advantage of the free pass. Rojas and Harp drew back-to-back walks to begin the frame. The Bobcats would change pitchers but Riley McKnight, who entered as a pinch-hitter was successful in laying down the sac bunt. Then, Miles recorded an RBI groundout to second, pushing the Bearkats lead to 4-2.
It would not take Texas State long to answer, using a leadoff single and stolen base to effectively end the night for Mills. With two outs and a runner at third, freshmen left-handed reliever Brad Demco’s pitch bounced to the backstop, cutting the lead to 4-3.
Chisolm’s three-run bomb in the seventh gave Sam Houston a much-needed four-run cushion but the Bobcats turned around to cut into the deficit again in the bottom half. After two quick outs, the Bobcats produced a nine-pitch walk and pair of singles to trim the Sam Houston lead to 7-4.
Head coach Matt Deggs on the victory…
“They’ve got a really good hitting ballclub. I thought Dakota Mills went and gave us a really gritty outing. It probably wasn’t his best stuff but he had a lot of attitude and intent behind his fastball. They got their hits but I thought we played extremely well defensively again. I thought the bullpen was pretty good tonight. I still can’t tell you how impressed I am with our starting pitching, our defense and our bullpen. That’s what is keeping us in games.”
Head coach Matt Deggs on the offensive showing…
“Offensively, our approach continues to home on. We are playing our game and stealing a lot of bases, executing guys over and then getting big hits. I thought Chisolm continued to hit the ball hard. Jumping the wall in center is pretty impressive. It took a load off everybody.”
Head coach Matt Deggs on what he’s seeing from Chisolm…
“He’s 6-foot-5, 230, so he passes the eye test. We’re looking for a bomber in our lineup. He sat there for five games. I didn’t play him. He is just sitting over there seething I am sure waiting to get in and didn’t say a word. He just kept working and he was ready. Now, we can’t get him out of there.”
Designated hitter Blake Chisolm on the 3-run home run…
“I was looking for something out over the plate that I could drive and I ended up getting it. I saw the ball and swung and that was it. The game is always a blast with the guys we have. Everyone brings a ton of energy. These guys are definitely family. Everyone has been bought in from the start. We are just trying to get better every day.”