Kats roll to 14-6 win over Loyola Marymount

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HUNTSVILLE – A school-record four triples and a triple play highlighted a convincing win for the Sam Houston State Bearkat baseball team on Friday night as they opened up a three-game series with Loyola Marymount with a convincing 14-6 win over the Lions at Don Sanders Stadium.

The Kats (3-1) were on fire offensively on a chilly night at The Don, racking up 18 hits - seven for extra bases – and scored in six of eight trips to the plate against an LMU (3-3) team coming off a series win over Washington last weekend in Los Angeles.

SHSU also turned some defensive magic in the fourth inning, getting a 5-4-3 triple play to end the fourth inning, ending a Lion rally after they had already cut the lead to 2-1.

Sam Houston never grabbed the lead just two batters into the first inning and never surrendered it, getting two of its school-record four triples in the opening frame. Freshman Anthony MacKenzie got it all started, leading off the first with a triple to the right-center field gap on his way to a 4-for-6 night that saw him score four times.

In all, six Bearkats finished with multi-hit games while five had at least two RBI. Christian Smith had three hits and three RBI, finishing a homer short of the cycle, and Bryce Holmes also added three hits and scored twice.

On the mound, Tyler Davis garnered his second win in as many starts, allowing three runs – two earned – on seven hits in 6.0 frames. The junior struck out six and walked just one before the bullpen took over. Cole Wesneski got through the seventh inning before Kyle Backhus and Rogers each struck out the side in the eighth and ninth innings.

The Lions, meanwhile, were not as fortunate on the mound as they went through four arms after the Kats chased starter Josh Agnew in the fifth, getting to him for eight runs on nine hits.

SHSU got runs in the first third and fourth innings on RBI grounders, the first two coming from Colton Cowser before getting one from Gavin Johnson, to stake itself to a 3-1 lead. LMU cut it back to 3-2 with a run in the fourth, but the Kats broke it open in the fifth, sending 10 men to the plate and scoring six times to open the lead to 9-2.

Corbin Vines and Rogers each brought home RBI to start the scoring before Smith delivered a 2-run triple into the right-field corner. Holmes and Eric Bohnert each added RBI singles as well to cap the inning, and one inning later the Kats tacked on three more on RBI from Rogers and Smith once again.

Backhus looked good in his inning of work, punching out all three Lions he faced in the eighth on 13 pitches, getting the offense back to the plate. After a double by Holmes to open the inning, Johnson lined an RBI triple to the right-center field wall, setting a new single-game mark for the Kats with their fourth 3-bagger of the night.

Bohnert would pick up another RBI one batter later to make it 14-6 and then Rogers took the hill, closing it out with three punchouts of his own.

The Kats will look to clinch the series on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. at The Don in the middle game of the 3-game set. Lefty Matt Dillard is set to oppose LMU right-hander Nick Frasso.