CONWAY, Ark. – The Sam Houston State Bearkats struggled to put runs on the board on Friday, dropping both ends of a doubleheader to Central Arkansas at Bear Stadium.
The Kats (22-14, 14-6 SLC) scored just two runs in the two games, despite out-hitting UCA (19-20, 10-7 SLC) in each contest. The losses secure the Kats’ first series loss of the conference slate.
The Bearkats will return to Bear Stadium on Saturday to close out the series with UCA with the game scheduled for a 1 p.m. start.
Game 1 (Box Score)
Central Arkansas 6, Sam Houston State 1
UCA’s Cody Davenport went the distance for the third straight game and a four-run eighth inning broke the game open as the Bears took the day’s opener, 6-1.
It was a pitcher’s duel between Davenport and Sam Houston’s Hayden Wesneski for the majority of the game, but again a big inning haunted the Kats with Wesneski being saddled with his first loss of the season.
Davenport retired the first 13 hitters of the game until Jordan Cannon touched him up for a solo home run in the top of the fifth that gave the Kats the lead. But UCA answered with single runs in both the sixth and seventh, each coming in an inning that they did not record a base hit, and then broke it open with four two-out runs in the eighth.
Cannon 💣 alert!!— Sam Houston Baseball (@BearkatsBSB) April 19, 2019
The Kats' first hit of the game is a loud one as Jordan Cannon drives one out to RCF to put the Kats in front 1-0. #EatEmUpKats
Wesneski punched out seven and had all six of the Bears’ runs go against his ledger, despite allowing just one earned run through the first seven frames. Meanwhile, Davenport imporoved to 3-3 on the year and tied a career high with nine strikeouts.
The Bearkats out-hit the Bears by a 5-4 margin, but UCA was able to take advantage of five Bearkat walks – four in the eighth inning – and a key error in the bottom of the sixth.
With the Kats up 1-0 in the sixth, a dropped fly ball in center field allowed the leadoff hitter to reach second base for UCA. Two batters later Tyler Smith lifted a sacrifice fly to tie it up. One inning later UCA took the lead after taking advantage of a leadoff walk. A bunt and wild pitch moved the runner up to third base and UCA got the runner home on a grounder by Joshmar Doran.
SHSU could not take advantage of a double from Hunter Hearn in the seventh, then the Bears were able to break it open in the eighth. A leadoff single and an intentional walk had runners on first and second with two outs, then Wesneski hit Beau Orlando with two outs to load the bases. One batter later Marco Navarro poked a two-run double just inside the third-base bag and two Bearkat relievers followed by walking in a pair of runs to provide the game’s final margin.
Game 2 (Box Score)
Central Arkansas 4, Sam Houston State 1
Sam Houston out-hit the Bears for the second straight game, but could never find the big hit it needed. Meanwhile, UCA got the swing it was looking for when Josh Ragan hit a go-ahead, 3-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to push the Bears to a 4-1 win.
It spoiled a brilliant performance from Nick Mikolajchak, who was just one strikeout of his career high with nine punchouts in 6.0 innings while just allowing two hits and one run in taking a no-decision.
Noah Cameron took a no-decision for the Bears, striking out six in 6.2 frames. He also walked three, but managed to allow just one run while leaving nine men stranded through his first six innings. Gavin Stone picked up his third win of the season, while Cody Wolf was tagged with his first loss of the season.
Mikolajchak retired 12 in a row through the fourth inning before a bloop double by Navarro led to the Bears’ first run of the game in the fifth. The Kats had just taken a 1-0 lead after a 2-out rally in the top of the fifth, sparked by a double by Cowser that was followed by an RBI single from Jack Rogers. The Kats eventually loaded the bases, but were unable to get a hit to extend the lead.
Top 5 | 2 out— Sam Houston Baseball (@BearkatsBSB) April 19, 2019
SHSU 1 | UCA 0
Cameron gets the first 2 hitters, but then a double by Cowser is followed by an RBI single by Jack Rogers.
Kats strike first and have their first lead of the game. #EatEmUpKats
A spectacular catch by Riley McKnight ended a threat in the bottom of the sixth and kept the game tied, but the offense could not respond with a run in the top of the seventh despite getting runners to the corners.
Play. Of. The. Game.— Sam Houston Baseball (@BearkatsBSB) April 19, 2019
With the bases loaded and 2 outs in a 1-1 game, Riley McKnight takes away a go-ahead blooper with this #SCTop10 play.
Cowser to lead off the Bearkat 7th. #EatEmUpKats
Wolf then entered to pitch the bottom of the seventh and found himself in a jam after a single by Doran and a walk to Christian Brasher; however, it was Ragan who delivered the game’s big swing in the inning when he crushed a 1-0 pitch over the left-field wall for a 3-run homer that gave the Bears the lead for good.