NACOGDOCHES, Tex. - In a battle of two of the top pitches in the Southland Conference, the Sam Houston State Bearkats proved the victor in the series opener at Stephen F. Austin on Friday, taking down the Lumberjacks, 4-2, at Jaycees Field.
Bearkat (21-10, 13-3 SLC) starter Hayden Wesneski and SFA (15-20, 8-5 SLC) ace Alex Palmer entered as the top two strikeout leaders in the SLC going into Friday and turned in a game that lived up to a Friday series opener.
Wesneski scattered eight hits and scattered six hits, allowing just one earned run in 7.0 innings while Palmer delivered 8.0 strong frames for the ‘Jacks, punching out five without a walk.
But in the end it was the SHSU bats that proved to be the difference with three RBI coming from true freshman Jackson Loftin and Colton Cowser. Loftin finished the game 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBI, while Cowser delivered a go-ahead solo homer off of Palmer in the top of the eighth for what proved to be the winning run.
Wesneski’s effort was enough to run his record to 6-0 on the season, while Nick Mikolajchak pitched out of a jam in the eighth inning and then fired a scoreless ninth to record his fifth save of the year and the 20th of his career.
Despite the strong outing, Palmer took the loss, allowing three runs to fall to 3-4 on the year.
Sam Houston finished with 10 hits in the game with Hunter Hearn and Jordan Cannon each delivering a pair of hits, while Gavin Johnson had an RBI on a sacrifice fly in the fourth.
Due to impending storms in the Nacogdoches area, the teams will forego Saturday’s game and instead play a doubleheader on Sunday at Jaycees Field. First pitch for Game 1 is set for 10:30 a.m. and will be followed by Game 2 of the twinbill approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of Game 1.