HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Sam Houston State used a nine run outburst in the bottom of the sixth inning to knock off the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball team in an eight inning 13-3 run-rule victory Friday at Don Sanders Stadium.
The loss puts the Islanders (30-24, 19-10 SLC) out of contention for the Southland Conference title, as they can now finish anywhere from second to fourth. The win for the Bearkats (39-15, 21-8) clinched the series victory, as well as at least a share of first place in the league.
Neither starter was extremely sharp on the night, with Trevor Belicek going 5 1/3, giving up five runs on seven hits to record the loss, while Jason Simms collected one more out in 5 2/3 innings of work, allowing three runs on six hits for the no decision.
SHSU won the battle of the bullpens, as four Islander relievers combined to give up eight runs. On the other side, the Bearkats' sub on the mound had a solid outing, as Alan Scott gave up just one hit over 2 1/3 to pick up his third win of the season.
None of the A&M – Corpus Christi batters were able to collect more than one hit, while the SHSU lineup saw each member get on base at least once, with eight of the nine collecting at least one hit. Ryan O'Hearn had the best night, going a perfect 3-for-3 at the dish with three RBIs and four runs scored.
After a scoreless first inning, senior Russell Vaughan put the first tally up on the scoreboard, as he blasted a shot over the left field wall for his first home run of the season to put the Islanders up 1-0.
But the Bearkats got their offense going in the bottom half of the inning after being set down in order in the first by Belicek. Two singles followed by a sacrifice fly tied the game up at one, before the fourth single of the inning gave SHSU a 2-1 advantage after two innings.
Belicek came back with his second 1-2-3 inning of the game in he bottom of the third, but Simms matched him the next half inning to keep the game tied. In the bottom half of the frame, the Bearkats jumped back out on top via a ground out with runners on second and third to put them up 3-2 after four full.
A&M – Corpus Christi battled back in the fifth though, putting runners on second and third with two outs following two singles and a fly out. After the Bearkats went to the bullpen to bring a lefty on, the Islanders countered with right-handed pinch hitter Zach Hardy.
Hardy came through in the clutch with a slow roller to third that could not be gathered and thrown to first in time, as the runner came in from third to score and tie the game at three.
However, the bottom half of the sixth inning was when the Bearkats did their damage, scoring nine runs on six hits and three walks, including a two-run double for Colt Atwood, a two-run single for Anthony Azar and the three-run home run for O'Hearn to put SHSU up 12-3.
After a scoreless seventh and top of the eighth, Carter Burgess singled through the right side to give the Bearkats the run-rule victory, securing at least a share of their third consecutive Southland title.
A&M – Corpus Christi will now try to finish as high as second by going for a win in the regular season finale Saturday at 1 p.m.
Fans can follow along with the game by listening to audio provided for free on GoIslanders.com, while live stats and video can be found at GoBearkats.com.
As always, fans can also keep up with the team on various social media outlets by following the team on Twitter and Instagram (@IslandersBSB), as well as on Facebook (IslandersBaseball).