HUNTSVILLE, TX -- Ryan Tepera, a transfer from Blinn College, picked up his first NCAA Division I pitching victory in relief Friday night, striking out six batters and allowing only one hit in five and two-thirds innings to lead Sam Houston State to a 9-4 victory over Saint Louis University.
The Bearkats broke open a 4-4 tie with five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Sam Houston (7-3) totaled 11 hits, coming from 4-2 down to post their fourth victory in a row. Bobby Verbick hit a solo home run in the third inning.
Saint Louis dropped to 2-5 for the year. The game was the second contest in the Hillcrest Ford Baseball Classic at Don Sanders Stadium. Earlier in the day, South Dakota State held off a ninth-inning Texas-Pan American rally to win 11-10.
Starting pitcher Jacob Howard got off to a rough start, walking three of the first four batters he faced. The Billikens scored on a ground out to first base by David Blackwell that scored J. D. Dunn. Catcher Heath Pugh threw out a Saint Louis runner trying to steal second to end the inning.
Sam Houston rallied for two runs in the bottom of the second. With one out, Keith Stein and Bobby Verbick walked. Stein scored on a single by Nick Zaleski and Verbick tallied on a ground out by Daniel Nottebart.
Saint Louis scored three in the top of the second to go up 4-2, starting the inning with four consecutive hits.
Ryan Tepera replaced Howard in the third inning, striking out the final two batters to get out of the inning after the bases had been loaded with two walks and a hit batter. Howard left with four runs, five hits, and five walks and two strike outs.
Todd Sebek singled to start the bottom of the third inning. Sebek advanced on a wild pitch then scored on a single by Stein. After Stein was caught stealing at second, Verbick tied the game 4-4 with a solo home run over the left field fence, his seventh of the year.
The contest settled into a pitching duel between Billiken starter Zach Outman and Tepera as neither team tallied for the next four innings. In the bottom of the seventh, Ryan Trevino walked and Braeden Riley and Todd Sebek got back-to-back singles to load the bases. Brad Perkins relieved Outman but Stein scored Trevino with a sacrifice fly before a double play ended the inning with Sam Houston up 5-4.
Outman left with eight hits and five runs in six innings, striking out two Bearkat batters. He took the loss, his second of the season.
Nick Zaleski singled to start the bottom of the eighth. Weber’s sacrifice fly scored Zaleski. Mark Wyatt’s two run double brought in two more insurance runs. Todd Sebek singled in Wyatt
Sam Houston State will play twice Saturday against South Dakota State in games starting at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Texas-Pan American meets Saint Louis at 2:30 p.m.