Huntsville – Bearkat pitcher Michael Oros picked up his second win of the season and former Owl catcher John Hale made several huge defensive plays as the Bearkats defeated Rice 4-1 Sunday afternoon at Reckling Park to eliminate the No. 1 seed from the Houston NCAA Regional.
Oros spread eight hits over eight innings, striking out six of the 36 batters he faced. On April 3, Oros was the winning pitcher in a 2-1 midweek victory over the Owls. Oros moved up to 8-1 for the season with the win.
Michael Burchett got the final three outs for his 10th save of the season.
Hale, who went 3-for-4 at the plate, made seven put outs behind the plate including a crucial out in the fifth inning to limit the Owls to one run on a double to the left field wall.
“When your catcher is working harder than you are, it makes it a lot easier,” Oros said. “John did a great job behind the plate and the defense was tremendous behind me. It helped to have seen them before, but they’re an outstanding ball game and this is a huge win for our program.”
Sam Houston scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the third on an infield error on a grounder to second by left fielder Luke Plucheck. The play scored Corey Toups. The shortstop led off the third with a single, stole second and reached third on a ground out to get in scoring position.
The Bearkats added a second run in the fourth as catcher John Hale and second baseman both singled and Hale scored on a single to right field by center fielder Colt Atwood.
The Owls got one run back in the top of the fifth on a double by right fielder Jeremy Rathjen. Second baseman Christian Stringer and designated hitter J. T. Chargois both had singled. Stringer scored on Rathjen’s shot to the wall but Chargois was thrown out at the plate on the relay by Toups.
Designated hitter Anthony Azar put the final nail in the Owls’ coffin with a two-out single through the left side in the bottom of the eighth to give Sam Houston a 4-1 lead. The hit scored Hale
Rice had other scoring opportunities with the bases loaded in the first inning, a runner on in the fourth inning and runners on first and second with one out in the seventh. But Oros and the Bearkat defense kept coming up with answers as the Owls left 11 runners on board in the first eight innings.
Sam Houston now plays Arkansas at 6 p.m. If the Bearkats can knock off the No. 2 seeded Razorbacks, the pair would play in the final game of the regional at 6 p.m. Monday night at Reckling.
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