DeLAND, Fla. – The Sam Houston State Bearkats fell behind early and could never quite make up the difference in the finale of the RyCass Classic on Sunday afternoon at Melching Field, falling 3-2 to Virginia Tech.
The Bearkats (2-1), coming off a late-night win over Stetson on Saturday night, allowed just one Virginia Tech (3-0) hit in the first seven innings but it was a two-run homer from Kerry Carpenter in the first inning that gave VT a lead they would never give back.
In all the Kats punched out 10 Hokie hitters, but were their own worst enemy with 10 walks and four hit batters from seven arms. True freshman Matt Dillard took the loss in his first Sam Houston appearance, punching out three, but walking four in just 2.1 innings of work.
Landon Ausley had a pair of strikeouts as well, while Brad Demco struck out four of the six batters he faced in 1.2 innings of relief. Steven Beard also turned in 1.2 shutout innings of relief as one of three true freshmen to see the bump in the game for SHSU.
Meanwhile, the Hokie duo of Chris Gerard and Peyton Alford held Sam Houston to just four hits in the game before handing it over to Zach Brzkcy who struck out a pair in a perfect ninth for the save. Alford picked up the win with 4.0 innings of relief and three strikeouts.
No Bearkat finished with multiple hits, but Hunter Hearn hit his third home run of the weekend, a solo shot in the eighth that cut the lead to 3-2.
The Kats will now return to The Don for its 2019 home opener on Tuesday, hosting Texas Southern. Fans can follow along with @BearkatsBSB on Twitter or watch via live stats on GoBearkats.com.
It took the Hokies just two batters to take the lead as Nick Owens worked a leadoff walk from Dillard, then Kerry Carpenter launched a 1-1 pitch over the left-center field fence for a two-run homer. Dillard put two more VT hitters on base, but managed to work out of the inning with no further damage.
The Kats worked out of jams in the third and fourth, but were not so fortunate in the fifth when VT pushed across a run without the benefit of a hit. A one-out walk by Landon Ausley to Carson Taylor prompted the Kats to go to the bullpen for the second time, but another walk was followed by two more hit batters that made it a 3-0 game.
Sam Houston was finally able to scratch across a run in the bottom of the inning after a single from Chase Cryer and a walk to Kyle Moos put the first two runners on base; however a shot off the bat of Reese Johnson was turned into a double play just one batter later. But with Jack Rogers at the plate, reliever Peyton Alford uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Cryer to score and make it a 3-1 game.
Brad Demco put out a fire in the sixth with a pair of strikeouts and followed with a zero in the seventh to keep the Kats in it. Sam Houston then had a chance to do some damage in the seventh when they got two runners into scoring position before Alford was able to get a big strikeout of Rogers to end the rally. One inning later Hearn cut the lead down to 3-2 by launching his third home run of the weekend over the left-center field fence with two outs.