No. 5 Sam Houston Edges No. 1 Abilene Christian in Slugfest
HAMMOND, La. – Without the traditional Southland Conference Home Run Derby on the eve of the tournament, No. 5 Sam Houston and No. 1 Abilene Christian decided to take it to the live games, combining for eight home runs in a 14-12 Bearkat victory on Friday evening at the 2021 Southland Conference Baseball Tournament, presented by GeoSurfaces.
SHSU’s Blake Faecher, who entered the tournament with one long ball all season, and teammate Jack Rogers each hit their third and fourth homers of the tournament with a pair of round-trippers apiece in the victory, and ACU’s Hunter Gieser also left the yard twice.
The Bearkats continued to dominate the opening frame, putting up four runs on back-to-back home runs from Jack Rogers and Faecher, the third of the tournament for each slugger, and an RBI triple for Mason Schulz. SHSU has scored 11 runs in the first inning of its last three games.
The scoring onslaught continued in the second inning with a six-spot for the Kats, starting with consecutive two-run hits from Faecher and Gavin Johnson and culminating with a two-run blast off the bat of Schulz.
The Wildcats were able to get two back on a fielding error by Anthony MacKenzie that allowed Mitchell Dickson and Brett Hammit to touch home.
Faecher left the yard for a second time with a solo shot in the fourth, and Rogers followed suit with his second jack in the bottom of the fifth.
ACU once again responded to trim the deficit back to single-digits by way of a two-run shot from Gieser, his third of the tournament. Three pitches after an official review determined his drive down the left-field line was foul, he belted a no-doubter to center.
Staring defeat in the face down nine in the eighth, the Wildcats dropped seven runs in the penultimate inning, starting with a solo shot off the bat of Brett Hammit. Three batters later, Colton Eager singled home two runs, and ACU pulled within five after a Mason Schulz error allowed Eager to score. Gieser capped the big inning with a three-run bomb to left.
Matt Dillard (2-4) got the win after he was tagged for two earned runs on five hits in 5.1 innings, and Genner Cervantes (7-2) suffered the loss with 10 runs on nine hits in 2.1 innings. Lance Lusk (8) earned the save after tossing a scoreless ninth with a strikeout.
The Bearkats and Wildcats will square off again on Saturday either at 9 a.m. CT, if Southeastern Louisiana beats McNeese Friday night, or at 1 p.m.
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