SUGAR LAND -- A five-run third inning was all Southeastern Louisiana needed Thursday night in the second round of the Southland Conference Tournament at Constellation Field. The 5-3 loss drops the Bearkats into the loser’s bracket to play Lamar Friday at noon.
Southeastern’s five spot came in the third inning off of Sam Houston starter Cody Dickson. A leadoff single by left fielder Ladd Rhodes was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. After Dickson hit a batter, shortstop Ben Hernandez singled to load the bases.
First baseman Jameson Fisher singled to plate two runs and catcher Sam Robertson tripled to drive in two more. An RBI groundout by center fielder Harry Slade made the score 5-0.
To his credit, Dickson battled to keep the Lions off the board the rest of the way. The junior pitched 6 2/3 innings and worked around runners in each frame. Dickson gave up eight hits, while walking two and hitting three batters. He struck out two batters.
“I thought Cody’s competitive spirit was great. He competed as well as he can,” said Bearkat head coach David Pierce. “I wouldn’t say his stuff was his best but he really competed and gave us a chance to win. He had one bad inning and they executed. That was the difference in the game.”
The following frame provided hope for the Bearkats as they quickly responded with a three-run inning. Center fielder Colt Atwood singled to lead off the fourth and Anthony Azar followed with a double. Designated hitter Shea Pierce hit a one-out, RBI-single to get the Kats on the board.
After another out, shortstop Carter Burgess ripped a double to right center that scored Azar and Pierce. The ball got away from the Lion defenders and Burgess tried to come all the way around to score but ended up caught in a rundown and throw out at third.
The Lions looked to add to their lead with back-to-back singles to lead off the bottom of the fourth. A wild pitch from Dickson bounced all the way to the wall behind the plate and right fielder Aaron Haag tried to score from second but was thrown out at the plate for the first out of the inning.
Dickson was able to strike out designated hitter Gabe Woods before Burgess made a great play in the hole at short to get the final out of the inning.
Sam Houston had a great opportunity to equalize in the top of the fifth after a pair of lead off singles from right fielder Ryan O’Hearn and second baseman Ryan Farney. Azar walked to load the bases with two outs but the Kats couldn’t get any runs in.
From that point the Kats would only have one other baserunner, a two-out single in the seventh by Plumlee, until the ninth inning.
With one out in the ninth, Burgess singled and O’Hearn walked to bring up the Kats leading home run hitter, Hayden Simerly in a pinch-hit situation. Simerly battled to a full count and hit a chopper over the pitcher that he nearly beat out for an infield single. Plumlee was then called out on strikes to end the game.
“We left runners on in crucial situations,” Pierce said. “We left guys on in the ninth. There was another inning where we bunted them over, but we couldn’t get them in. They pitched a good ball game and they won it.”
Mason Klotz picked up his 11th save and Tate Scioneaux notched his seventh win of the season.
The winner of the Bearkats noon game against Lamar, will get a rematch with Southeastern Louisiana at 7p.m.