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Late runs by University of Houston spoil SHSU in home opener, 6-3

By Connor Hyde
On February 21, 2013

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An exchange of seven Sam Houston State pitchers and a stagnant hitting rotation cost the Bearkats a 6-3 loss against the University of Houston in Tuesdays home opener.

SHSU baseball coach David Pierce attributes Tuesdays loss to the five walks and four errors, handing three unearned runs to the Cougars.

UHs plate discipline cornered starting Bearkat pitcher Tyler Eppler to a two-and-one-third inning outing with 61 pitches thrown. Eppler held the Cougars to one run but multiple full count plate appearances tired the sophomore coming off a preseason injury.

Pierce claimed the circulation of the pitching rotation was to preserve arms after the previous tournament at Texas State.

It wasnt so much of Epplers performance, or even [Jason] Simmss performance, or [Logan] Boyds performance. It was much more about preserving their arms and making sure they get in there and get a taste but at the same time we dont want to give away games doing it, Pierce said.

SHSU reliever Michael Burchett loaded the bases with a single and threw three consecutive walks for three runs, allowing the Cougars to take a 6-3 lead in the top of the ninth.

Coming off the Texas State tournament averaging eight runners left on base, SHSU continued to move runners into scoring position but were unsuccessful in piecing together a string of base hits to score from second.

Hayden Simerlys opening homerun of the bottom in the second couldnt hold the Bearkatss lead beyond the fourth inning, after a Cougar single following an error at third tied the game at three. Jessie Plumlee singled to right center to advance Ryan Farley from first to third, scoring on Luke Pluchecks sacrifice fly to center field during the bottom of the fourth.

I thought we had great executed play with the slash and we got ourselves first and third, Pierce said. Plumlee sold the play very well, he handles the bat well. Thats the type of things we have to do.

Farley closed the night hitting 3-4 with three singles.

Late offensive momentum was interrupted from centerfielder Colt Atwood after tagging from first to second base on a towering pop-fly deep into center field in the seventh inning.

Normally we dont tag up from first a lot but as deep as [the hit] was, with that runner, all that situation, I thought it was an aggressive play and the only reason it didnt work was because [UH] made the play, Pierce said.

SHSU will face off against Louisiana-Monroe for their first home series. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.

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