HOUSTON – The Sam Houston State Bearkats kicked off the first half of their fall schedule in style on Friday night, taking down Rice, 18-11, in a 12-inning exhibition at Reckling Park.


The Kats will play one more fall exhibition on October 25 at Don Sanders Stadium against Texas A&M.


Friday’s game was delayed 20 minutes due to weather just prior to the originally-scheduled first pitch and then had another extended delay in the top of the third before the weather finally cleaned out of the area and allowed for the resumption of play.


SHSU took the opportunity to use a dozen pitchers in the game with each getting an inning of work. Cole Wesneski started the game and allowed just an unearned run and Tyler Davis struck out one in a scoreless third frame. The Kats also got scoreless innings from Matt Dillard, Lance Lusk, Caleb Cannon and Hayden Collins and struck out 16 for the game.


Sophomore Colton Cowser, the 2019 Southland Conference Hitter of the Year, singled safely in each of his first three plate appearances and drove in three runs on four hits for the night. Freshman Clayton Chadwick also looked great, reaching base in six of his seven trips to the plate with four hits, a pair of walks and an RBI. Blake Faecher also had a pair of extra-base hits and five RBI for the game.


The Kats had an early lead in the third inning when they loaded the bases ahead of Faecher who dropped a 2-run double into right field. Rice managed to come back to take a 5-3 lead with three runs in the fifth, but the Bearkat offense erupted for nine runs in the top of the eighth inning to take control.


SHSU scored eight of those runs with two outs, getting an RBI single from Eric Bohnert to draw to within a run before Anthony MacKenzie put them ahead with a 2-run single. Two batters later Cowser doubled home two more before Faecher and Corbin Vines crushed back-to-back homers to cap the inning.


The Kats added three more in the ninth on an Owl error and an RBI single from Christian Smith, then three more in the 10th on an RBI double from Gavin Johnson and a run-scoring single from Chadwick.