First baseman Ryan O’Hearn homered in the eighth and hit a walk-off RBI single in the ninth to give Sam Houston State a 3-2 victory over Southeastern Louisiana in the nightcap of a Southland Conference doubleheader Saturday at Don Sanders Stadium.
The Bearkats left 10 runners on base including five who had reached third base in a 4-2 loss to Southeastern Louisiana in the first game of the doubleheader.
The split puts Sam Houston one victory away from clinching its first Southland Conference regular season championship since 1989. The Bearkats stand 21-8 in league action and 33-16 for the year. Southeastern Louisiana is in second place with an 18-11 mark and stands 34-17 for the season.
Center fielder Colt Atwood tripled to right field to start the first game for the Bearkats. First baseman Ryan O’Hearn singled to score Atwood. Third baseman Kevin Miller, who was hit by a pitch, scored on a sacrifice fly by right fielder Greg Olson to put the Kats up 2-0 after one inning.
A two-run single by designated hitter Cody Gougler powered the Lions to a three-run sixth inning as Southeastern Louisiana jumped in front 3-2.
The Lions got an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning as left fielder Ladd Rhodes walked and later scored from third base on a wild pitch.
The Bearkats had the bases loaded with no outs against Lion stopper Stefan Lopez but the relief pitcher got two strike outs and a fly out to earn his 19th save of the season.
Andro Cutura (6-1) got the win on the mound, giving up five hits in five and two thirds innings. Caleb Smith (7-4) was the loser for Sam Houston despite holding the Lions hitless for the first five innings.
Sam Houston scored the first run again in the nightcap as Miller broke a scoreless tie in the third inning with an RBI single up the middle. The hit scored catcher Jessie Plumlee who led off the inning with a single.
Southeastern Louisiana tied the game 1-1 on a sacrifice fly by Gougler in the top of the eighth after second baseman Brock Hebert singled to lead off the inning.
O’Hearn’s solo home run over the right field fence to lead off the bottom of the eighth put the Kats quickly back on top. Center fielder Harry Slide tied the game 2-2 with an RBI double in the top of the ninth.
Michael Burchett (3-2) was the winning pitcher in relief while Jason Greenlead (2-1) took the loss.
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