Bearkats win home baseball series over Arkansas State
Published: Monday, March 4, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 8, 2013 14:03
Sam Houston State’s starting pitchers continued to toss strong outings against Arkansas State, but still struggle to gain support from the bullpen late in games.
Despite winning the series with an 8-1 win Saturday and 11-6 Sunday, SHSU’s relievers gave up eight of ASU’s 11 runs this weekend, straining the Bearkats lineup.
Three Bearkat relievers circulated in the eighth inning of game one, allowing two runs, two walks and two hits to open up an ASU rally to clench game one. Coach David Pierce accredits the bullpen’s slump to insecurity of pitches.
“I don’t want to get to a point where we’re compensating, we’ve got to throw strikes and that’s the bottom line,” Pierce said. “We’ve just got to get better and a little bit more relaxed out of the bullpen…They’re just going to have to relax.”
“I think the best thing about [Dickson] is that he’s competing right now and he’s competing well,” Pierce said. “He threw a lot of fastballs and he threw the ball best to his glove side. All together he gave us a chance to win.”
Of the 16 pitchers on the active roster, seven freshmen fill the role of relievers. According to Pierce, repetition and practice will develop trust in the freshmen and their pitches to become frequent arms throughout the season.
“What we’re trying to do is get our guys in an opportune time to eventually be contributors,” Pierce said.
Offensively SHSU wore out ASU’s pitching with multiple extra base hits and executing situational hitting at-bats.
Shortstop Carter Burgess hit 3-4 against the Red Wolves Sunday with two doubles and a triple to spark multiple run rallies in the second and sixth innings. Centerfielder Colt Atwood fed off Carter’s streak to break a hitless game with a single to drive in Burgess to give SHSU a 7-4 lead. A series of singles drove in Atwood and second basemen Ryan Farney to close the bottom of the sixth with a 9-4 lead.
“I saw more pitches I’ve seen in the past working the counts and I was getting my pitch and hitting them hard,” Burgess said. “When [there are] runners on base you don’t want to press too much and you know I got lucky to get into counts that were favorable and I was able to drive the ball and drive the guys in.”
SHSU’s offense gained momentum early Sunday with a solo homerun from Spence Rahm off a hanging curveball to begin the inning.
The Bearkats will travel to Rice University to face off against the Owls Wednesday. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.
Pierce and company will return to Huntsville for a three game home series against the University of Connecticut with game one starting on Friday.