Luke Plucheck’s 3-for-3 day and inside-the-park homerun fueled the Bearkats to a 12-2, run-rule win to complete the three-game sweep of Nicholls State.
Sam Houston (31-17, 15-6) now sits alone atop the Southland standings and two games up on the Kats next opponent, Southeastern Louisiana. However just four games separate first place from seventh.
Plucheck, who drove in three runs and scored two, was a part of each of the Bearkats scoring outbursts. The left fielder hit an RBI single as part of a three-run first inning. Catcher Anthony Azar ripped an RBI double and third baseman Kevin Miller hit an RBI groundout before Plucheck’s single.
Nicholls State scored two runs in the third inning but the Bearkat’s lead remained intact, 3-2.
Designated hitter Hayden Simerly, Plucheck and shortstop Carter Burgess each singled to load the bases in the fourth inning. Right fielder Ryan O’Hearn singled to plate Simerly and Plucheck.
First baseman Jessie Plumlee walked and center fielder Colt Atwood singled to score a run. Azar walked to push across the fourth run of the frame.
The Bearkats put the game out of reach in the sixth inning. Plumlee was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Azar doubled off the left field wall. Pinch-hitter Romeo Cortina singled to score both runs.
Plucheck then hit a fly ball to the deepest part of the ballpark, in right center field, that the center fielder was unable to track down. The ball hit off of the wall allowing Plucheck to round the bases and slide safely into home.
Second baseman Ryan Farney singled to score Burgess, who reached on an infield single, for the 12th run of the game.
Starter Caleb Smith pitched six innings allowing just two runs on two hits and four walks. The junior struck out eight batters.
Cody Dickson pitched a scoreless seventh inning in relief. Dickson issued two walks and struck out two batters.
Next action for the Bearkats is a three-game series at Southeastern Louisiana next weekend. The Kats will finish the regular season at home against Central Arkansas, May 16-18.