GoBearkats.com / Gene Schallenberg / Huntsville Item Center fielder Colt Atwood went 3-for-5 with an RBI as Sam Houston State defeated Dallas Baptist 5-3 in a non-conference midweek baseball game Tuesday night at Don Sanders Stadium.
Sam Houston (15-9) also got two RBIs from shortstop Corey Toups and one from first baseman Ryan O’Hearn. Michael Oros (3-0) was the winning pitcher, giving up only two hits and striking out three of the 19 batters he faced.
Dallas Baptist (15-8) totaled eight hits. Austin Elkins gave the Patriots an early 1-0 lead with a first inning home run.
Nursing what seemed like a comfortable lead in the early going, the Kats could see it slipping away in the middle innings, but called upon to throw just a few innings, Oros was the right kind of plug Sam Houston needed. Over the final 5 1/3 innings, the senior right-hander shut down and shut out the Patriots to preserve a 5-3 Bearkats victory.
“Last year, we played them in Dallas and I got the loss in that game, so I wanted to put it to them a little bit,” Oros said. “We had a plan going into the game with our starter and our bullpen. I thought I was just going to throw a few innings, but everything worked out and I kept going.”
After scoring three runs in the second inning and two more in the third, Sam Houston, which improved to 15-9 on the season, was looking good with a 5-1 edge going into the fourth.
Then the Patriots, who had won nine out of their last 10 games, found ways to get to relief pitcher Allen Scott. Dallas Baptist catcher Duncan McAlpine doubled in shortstop Joel Hutter, who led off the inning with a double. With baserunners on first and third base, designated hitter KJ Alexander lofted a high fly ball to right field, which drove in McAlpine on a sacrifice fly to narrow the score to 5-3.
With the Patriots still threatening with a baserunner in scoring position, Oros (3-0) entered the game and prevented Dallas Baptist from narrowing the lead any more.
While Patriots had several relievers settle in and keep the Bearkats from adding any more to their lead, Oros was keeping Dallas Baptist (15-8) in check as well.
“Michael was great. He went 5 1/3 (innings) and we needed it. On a night that we needed it, he was really good,” Sam Houston head coach David Pierce said.
Over the final five innings, Oros allowed just two hits with three strikeouts and no walks.
“My breaking ball was pretty well today. If I could get ahead in the count, I could set them up pretty well, but I had to get the first-pitch strike first,” Oros said.
In the opening inning, Sam Houston fell 1-0 after Patriots second baseman Austin Elkins launched a homer over the right-field wall off Kats starting pitcher Taylor Holt.
“I thought Taylor did his job. We wanted to go two, maybe three (innings) with him. He gave up two hits and one base on balls. The one home run, that doesn’t bother me. We wanted him to attack the strike zone,” Pierce said.
The Kats, however, answered right back in the second.
With a pair of Bearkats in scoring position, freshman shortstop Corey Toups pushed the ball into right field to bring in a pair of runs and give Sam Houston the lead. Freshman center fielder Colt Atwood, who in two games hit a collective 5-for-10 with four RBIs, singled to drive in Toups, who was in scoring position after swiping second base.
In the next inning, Sam Houston put up another crooked number on the scoreboard with a pair of runs. With the bases loaded and no outs, freshman first baseman Ryan O’Hearn grounded out to the shortstop, which brought in designated hitter Anthony Azar from third.
The Kats later scored again in the inning thanks to a balk by Dallas Baptist reliever Jordan Staples.
“We were very aggressive early and we were able to scratch some runs early,” Pierce said. “I thought our guys did a great job against them and fortunately, we had enough runs early.”
Winners of four straight and six of their last seven, the Bearkats return to Don Sanders Stadium today to take on Texas Southern at 6:30 p.m.