Houston – Arkansas ended Sam Houston’s 2012 dream baseball season with a 5-1 victory in the finals of the Houston Regional at Reckling Park Sunday night.
The Hogs (42-19) took advantage of early Bearkat mistakes to jump out to a 3-0 lead and kept Sam Houston scoreless for seven innings.
“I couldn’t be prouder of a group of young men,” Sam Houston head coach David Pierce said. “We won 40 games and the regular season league championship, went far in the conference tournament and were fortunate enough to be an at-large team in the Baseball Championships. It’s been a great season.”
Tim Redden smashed a base hit past the shortstop in the bottom of the eighth inning to score the Kats’ lone run. The hit scored first baseman Jordan Bunch who singled.
An infield error, a wild pitch and a passed ball helped Arkansas pick up two runs in the top of the first inning. First baseman Dominic Ficociello singled with one out, advanced to second on a wild pitch, took third on a ground on and then scored on an error that would have been the third out. Second baseman Bo Bigham singled to bring in a second run.
The Razorbacks added a third run in the top of the second as center fielder Matt Vinson singled up the middle to lead off the inning and scored on a double to left field by designated hitter Joe Serrano.
Arkansas added single runs in the top of the fourth and sixth innings on sacrifice flies by catcher Jake Wise and shortstop Tim Carver.
“I got to play with a great bunch of guys this season and we had a lot of success,” senior Jake Arrington said. “Arkansas is a great team. It was exciting to get to the regional finals.”
The victory over No. 1 seed Rice Sunday afternoon that moved the Kats into the Regional finals game upped Sam Houston’s 2012 victory total to 40 wins. The total marks only the third time in the Bearkats’ 26 seasons at the NCAA Division I level to win 40 or more games.
Sam Houston’s young squad (the Kats lose only five seniors from this year’s roster) earned top 25 national rankings for the first time in program history. At one point in the year, SHSU rolled up a 13-game winning streak, the program’s longest at the Division I level.
Tying the record for most Southland Conference victories (24), Sam Houston won its first league regular season title since 1989. The trip to the 2012 Houston Regional marked Sam Houston’s seventh NCAA Division I Baseball Championships appearance.