HUNTSVILLE – The Sam Houston State Bearkats gave up seven early runs and could not climb out of that early hole, falling 11-5 to the Rice Owls on Tuesday night at Don Sanders Stadium.
Sam Houston (17-9) had 10 hits against the Owls (13-18), but six of the 11 Rice hits in the game went for extra bases, including a two-run homer by Cade Edwards to kickstart a five-run second inning that broke the game open.
Landon Ausley struck out a pair of hitters in the first inning, but ran into trouble in the second inning on his way to taking his second loss of the season. He was the first of five Bearkat arms to see the hill, with Cole Wesneski doing his best to keep the Kats in the game with 3.1 scoreless relief innings.
Blair Lewis moved to 2-0 for the Owls with the win, while Garrett Gayle put out a fire in the seventh on his way to pitching 3.0 innings to close out his second save of the season.
Sam Houston loaded the bases three times in the game, including each of the first two innings, but stranded nine runners on the bases in the game while going just 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
The Owls, who were coming off a weekend sweep of Old Dominion, broke it open in the second inning with five runs to go up 6-1, but the Kats fought back and had a chance to tie it in the seventh after Brad Demco came in from the pen to strike out the side with the bases loaded and nobody out to keep the Kats within striking distance at 7-3.
SHSU still had a pair of runners in scoring position with nobody out in the inning, but Gayle entered from the Rice bullpen and kept the Kats right where they were on his way to tossing the final three innings.
Rice would go on to add two more runs in the eighth on three doubles, and then tacked on two more in the ninth for the final margin.
The Kats will turn their attention back to Southland Conference play on Friday when they open up a three-game series vs Lamar at Don Sanders Stadium.