HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- Fresh off of their series win over Louisiana-Monroe, the Sam Houston baseball team will head to Austin to take on the Texas Longhorns Tuesday at 5 p.m.
The Kats (3-4) won two-of-three against the defending Sun Belt Conference champions. The other win came in the opening weekend against Texas State.
The Longhorns (6-1) swept Nebraska last weekend and have won five straight. Texas’ only loss came to Sacramento State in their opening series.
RHP Tyler Eppler (0-0) vs. RHP Chad Hollingsworth (2-0)
Caleb Smith pitched a solid 7.1 innings Friday night but ULM’s starter Cale Wine tossed a complete game to beat the Kats 2-1.
Cody Dickson tossed a complete game as the Kats won 4-2 Saturday. SHSU’s four run fourth inning held up as Dickson struck out nine and issued only one walk.
Sunday the Kats were sparked by freshman first baseman Spence Rahm in a 7-3 win. Rahm hit a two run double and scored in the third inning. In the seventh, he doubled to deep right and Greg Olson pinch ran for him and scored.
“The weekend didn’t start out the way we wanted but I was really proud of the way our guys stuck together,” said head coach David Pierce. “The most impressive thing to me about our team is that we were sitting at 1-4 after Friday’s loss and I saw great energy on Saturday and Sunday and the will to win and to do whatever the team needs.”
Freshman first baseman Spence Rahm was a key player in the final two games of the series. Rahm got his first two starts of the season and had three hits, two of them doubles, and drove in two runs.
In the fourth inning Saturday Rahm singled and scored the first of four runs in the frame. Sunday he doubled in two runs in the third and started a seventh inning rally with a double to deep right.
“I just felt like it was time to put Spence (Rahm) in the lineup Saturday,” said Pierce. “He’ll be a fixture this season and definitely be a big part of it.”
Kevin Miller and Ryan O’Hearn have started every game and each lead the team with nine hits. O’Hearn has four RBI and Miller has two. Luke Plucheck leads the team with six RBI.
Tyler Eppler is making his second start and third appearance this season. Eppler has a 3.86 ERA in 2.1 innings after giving up just one run to Houston last week.
“Texas has always built their team around speed, defense and pitching,” Pierce said. “The key for us is to pound the strike zone and make their hitters earn what they get and then we’re going to have to get some clutch hitting.”
Junior right fielder Mark Payton leads the Longhorns offensively. Payton is batting .500, with 12 hits, two doubles, a triple, and ten RBI. Shortstop CJ Hinojosa is batting .435 with ten hits, two doubles, and three RBI.
As a team the Longhorns have stolen 18 bases on 22 attempts. Outfielder Taylor Stell is five-of-six so far. The Kats are a perfect five-for-five on stolen bases this season.
Chad Hollingsworth is making his second start and fourth appearance overall this season. Hollingsworth has a 1.59 ERA in 5.1 innings with four strikeouts.
Tuesday’s game will be broadcast on the Longhorn Network at 5 p.m.
The Bearkats are back home at Don Sanders Stadium this weekend for a three-game series against