GoBearkats.com / Gene Schallenberg / Huntsville Item Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin split a Southland Conference baseball doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Don Sanders Stadium.
The Lumberjacks (6-10, 1-2) won the first game 5-2 while the Bearkats (9-6) took the nightcap 9-1 to go 2-1 and win the series.
A three-run homer in the second inning by designated hitter Freddy Villabos proved to be the winning run in the first game of the doubleheader . Catcher Jarid Scarafiotti added two more runs for the Jacks with a double to left field in the top of the third inning.
First baseman Ryan O’Hearn put the Bearkats on the board in the bottom of the third inning with a two-run double down the left field line.
Colton Eubanks (2-1) was the winning pitcher for SFA, spreading 10 hits over five and two thirds innings. Alex Moshier was credited with the save. Justin Jackson (2-2) was the losing pitcher.
Sam Houston tallied first in the second game, picking up a second inning run on an RBI single by shortstop Corey Toups. Designated hitter Jake Arrington’s double off the center field wall in the third inning put a second Kat run on the board.
A bases loaded walk to left fielder Rene Moreda in the top of the fourth accounted for SFA’s first run in the nightcap.
Arrington drove in two more runs in the bottom of the fifth with his third triple of the season. Left fielder Luke Plucheck’s RBI single and a sacrifice fly by second baseman Jessie Plumlee put the Kats up 6-1. Catcher Anthony Azar hit a two-run double and first baseman Ryan O’Hearn brought in a run on a ground ball in the bottom of the sixth.
Caleb Smith (1-2) was the winner in the second game while Chase Greening (0-3) took the loss.
After leaving 12 men on board and losing to SFA 5-2 earlier in the afternoon. Sam Houston bounced back and in the second game.
“I think it really shows the maturity of the team. We’re just starting to get older,” senior outfielder Jake Arrington said. “If you lose the first game, you forget it and flush it and come back and win that second one.”
Of the 12 runners the Bearkats stranded in Saturday’s first game, six were standing in scoring position and five of those came after Sam Houston scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the third inning to pull to within 5-2.
“We really made some freshman mistakes early in that first game. We left 12 runners on and it cost us the ballgame,” Bearkats head coach David Pierce said.
Even with those chances passing them by, the Kats (2-1 in Southland play, 9-6 overall) knew that if they kept doing the things that got them into scoring position, such as making contact and putting the ball into play, they would be able to break through on the scoreboard.
In Saturday’s second game, the final game of the series that was played in order to beat the rain the Kats knew was coming, Sam Houston got those same opportunities not long into the rubber match.
With as many runners that were left stranded in the first game, freshman shortstop Corey Toups didn’t want to squander his opportunity and have that trend continue. Toups flared the ball to shallow center field, which allowed Farney to trot in to home plate.
“I was just looking for a pitch I could hit, something I could handle,” Toups said. “(Lumberjacks starting pitcher Chase Greening) threw me a ball first. I was just looking for something that was up. He gave me a changeup that hung over the plate and I hit it up the middle and put the first run on the board. After that, we just didn’t stop.”
“We just started getting hits and everything started rolling for us,” Arrington said. “Anytime you can just put hits on top of hits, you’re going to put up runs like we did.”
SFA couldn’t put anything else on the board as Kats starting pitcher Caleb Smith (1-2) and reliever Brandon Bergen held the Lumberjacks scoreless the rest of the way.
“We had a great outing by Caleb and we had a nice job by Brandon to end up winning the series,” Pierce said.
“The great thing about it was that we were able to bounce back in game two and really played a complete game.”