COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The Bearkat baseball team was looking to rebound Tuesday night at No. 22 Texas A&M, and they did that in a big way. Sam Houston State beat the Aggies 8-1 for their first win in a week.
“It was a rough week last week and we just wanted to come out and be aggressive tonight,” first baseman Ryan O’Hearn said. “We wanted to get as many runs as we could tonight because lately the defense has been shaky. We were coming back and trying to be aggressive to take care of ballgames.”
Catcher Anthony Azar opened the scoring in the second inning when he ripped a solo home run to left field to lead off the frame. The homer, his fifth of the season, was a line-drive that flew just a few feet over the fence.
The Bearkats built off of Azar’s homer and turned the second into a big inning. First baseman Ryan O’Hearn and second baseman Shea Pierce both worked walks before designated hitter Dirk Masters singled to center field to score O’Hearn.
Left fielder Luke Plucheck hit an infield single to score Pierce from third and center fielder Colt Atwood drove in Masters with a sacrifice fly. The Bearkats sent eight batters to the plate in the inning and came out of it with a 4-0 lead.
The Kats added to their lead in the fifth inning after right fielder Hayden Simerly led off with a double into the gap in left center. O’Hearn drove him in with a single up the middle to make the score 5-0.
Texas A&M got a run on the board in the fifth inning when right fielder Nick Banks singled to score
Another Bearkat run came home when Plucheck scored from third on a wild pitch. He was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, stole second and moved to third on a single by shortstop Corey Toups.
The SHSU defense used a pair of inning-ending double plays to get out of jams in the third and sixth.
O’Hearn gave the Bearkats two more insurance runs in the eighth inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, O’Hearn singled to left field to score Atwood and Plucheck and extend the Kats lead to 8-1. O’Hearn finished 3-for-4 with 3 RBI.
After an error, a walk and a hit batter loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth Alan Scott came out of the bullpen. Second baseman Shea Pierce had to make a diving catch while running to his left to get out of the jam and end the inning.
Starter Jason Simms picked up the win in his first career start on the mound. He tossed five innings and allowed just one run. The bullpen picked up where Simms left off and kept the Aggies off the board. Andrew Godail, Sam Odom, Seth Holbert, Alan Scott and Logan Boyd combined to pitch the final four frames.
The Bearkats return to Don Sanders Stadium Wednesday to play McNeese State at 6:30 p.m.
“I’d like to play every day if I could,” O’Hearn added. “We’ve got a little momentum going into tomorrow. We’ll try to play as well as we can tomorrow and carry that momentum into the weekend.”