Sam Houston came into this game against the Wildcats, having already played a losers bracket earlier Friday morning. Sam Houston had a record of 28-24 for the season but lost three of four games in the series against ACU during the regular season. ACU was coming off of a 2-0 tournament record.
The Bearkats took an early lead in the first inning scoring four runs to start the game, causing junior starting pitcher Genner Cervantes to get in a hole early into the first inning.
Junior Tommy Cruz got the first hit for ACU with a single in the second inning. Cervantes got into a rough spot once again at the bottom of the second with bases loaded and two outs remaining. The Wildcats allowed six more runs, giving Sam Houston a larger lead of 10-0.
Things began to look up for the Wildcats when junior outfielder Colton Eager went up to bat with the bases loaded. It came down to a full count, which ultimately gave ACU two runs off of a single from Eager. ACU shrunk the lead 10-2. Cruz went up to bat right after with runners on first and third. Cruz hit a ball to the outfield, but Sam Houston caught it, ending the inning leaving two runners stranded on base.
Cervantes was pulled in the third inning after striking a batter out, then allowing a double. Freshman pitcher Owen Cuffe relieved Cervantes, and the first batter he faced walked. Sam Houston then hit a ground ball to shortstop resulting in a double play to end the inning, giving Sam Houston their first scoreless inning of the game.
Sam Houston had a quick three and out to give them their next turn at-bat. They began the fourth inning with a homer giving the Bearkats a larger lead of 11-2. Cuffe held Sam Houston to that one run to finish off the inning by striking out the next three batters after putting one on base.
Sophomore outfielder Grayson Tatrow came up to bat with two outs remaining and runners on second and first. Tatrow struck out, leaving Eager at-bat with one out remaining. Eager hit a single, allowing one runner to score and the other to advance to second. Cruz came up with runners on first and second and hit a ground ball to shortstop that ended the inning with a score of 11-3. Sam Houston scored another homer to bring the score to 13-3 to end the fifth.
Then junior infielder Hunter Gieser responded shortly after at-bat with a homer of his own, bringing in a runner making the score 13-5. The inning ended after ACU loaded the bases, and Eager hit a ball caught by the Bearkats, ending the inning.
Freshman infielder Brett Hammit scored a homer at the top of the eight making the score 14-6. ACU ultimately strung together seven runs this inning, making the score 14-12. Coming into the bottom of the eighth, Cuffe was relieved by sophomore pitcher Nick Norton.
Norton was pulled after walking one batter, and junior pitcher Trevor Jackson relieved him. Trevor gave up a single to the first batter but struck out the next two. He then proceeded to walk the next one, loading the bases with one out remaining. Trevor then stuck out the next batter looking, ending the inning giving ACU one more shot at tying the game.
In the top of the ninth, sophomore catcher Mitchell Dickson hit a ground ball to shortstop that was called out after a throw to first. ACU challenged it, but after review, the call on the field stood, and Dickson was called out. The Bearkats quickly got two more outs, ending the game with ACU falling to the Bearkats, 14-12.
ACU gets a chance at redemption against the Bearkats tomorrow in a win-or-go-home situation. The time will be determined based on the outcome of Friday’s game between McNeese State and Southeastern Louisiana. The time of the game will either be 9 a.m. or 1 p.m. Saturday and will be broadcast on ESPN+.