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Huntsville - Designated hitter Anthony Azar blasted a two-run homer to spark a four-run seventh inning as Sam Houston State defeated No. 23 Texas State 4-3 in the first game of a weekend Southland Conference baseball series Friday night at Don Sanders Stadium.

Cody Dickson (3-2) spread six hits over eight innings, striking out five Bobcats to pick up the victory. Michael Burchett got the final three outs in the top of the ninth to earn his first save of the season.

Third baseman Nick Smeiser's RBI single in the second inning accounted for the Bobcats' first run. Center field Jeff McVaney scored the run after reaching first on an error and stealing second base.

Third baseman Nick Smeiser added a home run to left field to increase the Texas State lead to 2-0 in the top of the fifth inning.

Losing pitcher Travis Ballew (4-2) held the Bearkats scoreless for six innings. But in the seventh, a ground out by shortstop Corey Toups scored catcher John Hale who singled.  Then a bunt single by center fielder Colt Atwood brought in second baseman Jessie Plumlee who doubled to tie the game 2-2.

Azar's home run to left field put SHSU up 4-2. The Bobcats got one run back in the top of the ninthe on an RBI ground out by catcher Andrew Stumph.

Sam Houston and Texas State will meet in the second game of the series Saturday at 4 p.m.


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