HUNTSVILLE – Buffalo drilled 14 hits, jumping out to a five-run lead after the first inning to take the series with a 10-4 victory against Sam Houston State on Saturday at Don Sanders Stadium.
The series loss was just the second in the last 21 opportunities for Sam Houston. The Kats (17-7) finished just 3 of 14 with runners in scoring position and stranded 13 on base in the defeat.
Starting pitcher Hayden Wesneski (5-1) was saddled with his first loss, permitting nine hits and six runs in 5 1-3 innings. The freshman, who entered the weekend as one of nine players to record five victories, struck out three and walked one.
The Bearkats return Tuesday to face Rice at 6:30 p.m. at The Don. The game will round out an eight-game homestand. Sam Houston hits the road for four straight beginning next weekend at Abilene Christian.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Buffalo (6-14) tagged Sam Houston for its most runs in an inning this season, scoring five on six hits to take the early lead. After Alex Thrower worked a leadoff walk, two straight singles and a fielder’s choice provided the Bulls a 3-0 lead. Buffalo continued to pound the Kats with two outs, notching three-consecutive hits and batted around for the 5-0 advantage.
The Bulls tacked on another in the third taking advantage of a leadoff single and hit by pitch as Eddie Edwards sent a single up the middle to plate Kyle Brennan. Wesneski buckled down, striking out Phillip Tomasulo before Robie Rojas threw down to second, picking off Jeff Palczewski.
Sam Houston got on the board in the fifth, thanks to the second triple of the series from Hunter Hearn to lead off the frame. Jaxxon Grisham followed, grounding out to shortstop to score the run and trim the Bulls lead to 6-1. Bryce Johnson belted a two-out double but would be stranded there.
The Kats had their opportunity in the sixth but could not cash in. Lance Miles reached to lead off the frame on a walk and moved to second as Blake Chisolm worked a four-pitch free pass with one down.
With Rojas at the plate, the catcher hit a chopper to third and Brian Dudek stepped on the bag but could not get Rojas at first, allowing the frame to continue with runners aboard first and second. A groundout from Hearn halted the frame resulting in the sixth stranded runners of the game.
The run-scoring opportunity woes continued in the seventh but Sam Houston was able to add one. Jaxxon Grisham was hit by the pitch to open the frame. Bryce Johnson and Clayton Harp drew consecutive walks, chasing starter Shawn Dubin from the game.
With Ben Vey on to pitch, Lance Miles reached on a fielder’s choice, scoring Grisham, cutting the deficit to 6-2. The second baseman swiped second, putting runners on second and third but Andrew Fregia grounded out as the Kats fell to 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
The Bulls added three insurance runs in the eighth, scoring a pair on a Thrower single to right field and another on a sacrifice fly from Brian Dudek for a three-run frame and 9-2 lead.
Sam Houston tallied a pair in the eighth, thanks to RBI singles from Grisham and Johnson but the Bulls escaped further damage, cutting down a pair of runners at the plate on grounders to Dudek at third with the bases juiced. A foul out from Lance Miles stranded the bases loaded.
Buffalo added another in the ninth, marking the first time Sam Houston had allowed 10 runs in a game since giving up 20 at No. 10 Texas Tech on April 13 a season ago.
Head coach Matt Deggs on the defeat…
“It just wasn’t our day today. We’ve played better and we’ve played worse before. They made the plays when they needed to and threw strikes when they needed them. That’s baseball. I love our team and the way we fight. We’ll be back. We have to keep grinding and work to get better.”
Head coach Matt Deggs on the runners stranded…
“The more runners you get on, the more you are going to strand. We had our opportunities today, we just didn’t take advantage of them. That’s baseball. For as much as these kids have done on and off the field, I can’t fault them. It’s a game and it was one game today. We didn’t perform like we all wanted to and they got us.”
Head coach Matt Deggs on whether the series is a wakeup call…
“I don’t know about wakeup call. It just wasn’t our weekend. We’re a really good ballclub but we have some work to do just like everyone else. You have to give Buffalo credit as well. Their starter did a good job and they made all the plays. They got big hits and won the series fair and square.”
Outfielder Hunter Hearn on the loss…
“Everyone wants to come out and win. You have to tip your hat to their guys. They played a great game and they played hard. Just because we didn’t get it done doesn’t mean we don’t need to stay playing our game and stick to what we have been doing because it has been working. We just need to keep our heads up and continue working every day.”
Outfielder Bryce Johnson on Buffalo’s five-run first and pressing afterwards…
“I think it had to do with us hitting the ball hard right at people. I think we were trying to do too much after that. That’s what I would say. You could see later in the innings we got out of our approach and we were hitting stuff in the dirt. I think we pressed maybe a little at the plate.”