Kats take non-conference series against former conference foe

May 4—HUNTSVILLE — After dropping a series last weekend to Louisiana Tech, Sam Houston was looking for a spark in a non-conference series as the regular season nears the end.

The Bearkats took the series against former WAC foe, Tarleton, to end a five-game skid.

Sam Houston took the Friday game, 9-6, and the Saturday doubleheader, 3-2 and 2-1.

"First of all, Fuller was with us for five years here and he is doing a really good job at Tarleton. Those were three dog fights. A sweep is a sweep and we are fired up to get out with three wins," Sam Houston coach Jay Sirianni said.

In the second game of the series, Sam Houston gave Michael Watson his typical start. After a tough outing against LA Tech, Watson came back and set a new season high.

Watson pitched seven innings and saw 24 batters. Watson opened the game striking out five of the first six batters he faced and kept that pattern going for most of the game. Watson struck out 11 Texan batters in his outing, setting a new season high.

Watson held the Texans hitless until the seventh inning of a three-run game when Ike Shirey laid a bunt down the first base line to break it up. Tarleton grabbed another hit after that and struck for two runs to get them on the board.

To close out the first game, Sam Houston turned to Malachi Lott on the rubber. Lott, who was the designated hitter, threw a strong eighth inning before being sent back out for the ninth. After a four-pitch walk, he was pulled for Wyatt Tucker.

Tucker inherited a runner on first base in a one-run game but worked out of the jam. The senior logged his fourth save of the season, leaving the runner stranded on third.

With no mid-week game, Sam Houston gave Ryan Peterson the start and followed that with bullpen arms. Sirianni gave Rome Shubert, Gavi Coldiron and Miles Hellums one inning of work each before turning things over to the closer.

Chandler David entered a 1-1 game with the job of turning it back to the offense. David pitched two innings for Sam Houston, allowing one base runner on 16 pitches.

"Michael did a really good job in game one and got us to the eighth," Sirianni said. "Wyatt and Malachi did a good job too. With no midweek, we were able to use more guys than we normally would."

After a nine-run first game, Sam Houston saw hits against Matt Haley but they couldn't get the timely hit. The Bearkats tabbed eight hits off Haley and stranded seven runners on the bags.

Jeffery David was a bright spot on the offense, starting 2-2 in the game. He drove the first run of the game.

With an offense that has struggled recently, seven Kats grabbed hits to try and turn the offense around.

"We had some quality at-bats when they mattered and that is kind of the thing in May. You never know what is going to happen in May, you have to find ways to win games," Sirianni said.

As Sam Houston grabbed a sweep, it was non-conference and doesn't count towards the CUSA record, where they currently sit in seventh place with a 7-11 record.

The Bearkats have two series remaining in CUSA play with a road trip to Florida International and close the season at home against Jacksonville State. The Bearkats are currently two games behind New Mexico State for the sixth seed and four games behind FIU for the fifth.

With this being the first time the Bearkats don't have a midweek game, it gives them an opportunity to recharge before a long plane trip.

"I told them to turn their bodies off but lock their brains in because this is finals week. We need to finish in the classroom first and get them back together on Tuesday or Wednesday to get some work done. It's that time of the year and it's time to play."

Sam Houston and FIU are scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. first pitch on Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday. All times are central time and each game will be broadcast on the ESPN + network.