HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- Sam Houston built a lead with a four-run fifth inning that Lamar University baseball fell just short of matching when the Cardinals fell 6-4 to the Bearkats at Don Sanders Stadium in Southland Conference action Saturday night.
Up only 2-1, ninth-hole hitter Riley McKnight put down a bunt to the third base side that was fielded on the run by Robin Adames, who missed Trey Silvers at first base on the throw. The ball rolled away and allowed McKnight to get to second base. Bryce Johnson followed with another bunt, but was safe at first for Bearkats (10-5, 2-0 SLC) on the corners and no outs.
Jaxxon Grishmam rolled into a 4-6-3 double play, which featured LU’s all freshmen middle infield of Payton Robertson and Cole Coker, but three-straight singles – all on the infield – loaded the bags. Catcher Robie Rojas hit a dribbler to Robertson, who got the ball to Coker on a very close play, but the runner was called safe and a run scored. Hunter Hearn delivered the big blow on a two-run single up the middle.
The Bearkats had eight hits of their 13 hits in that one inning.
Down 6-1, the Cardinals tried to mount their comeback, and pulled to within two in the very next frame (top of the sixth). Reid Russell – who reached base every time up Saturday – started it with a one-out line drive to left field. Adames followed him with full-count walk before Trey Silver uncorked his team-leading third home run of the season, again on a full count.
Silvers was responsible for every single run scored for LU after he claimed his first four-RBI game – second for LU – of the season.
Lamar had another chance in the top of the eighth inning to pull closer with men on first and second and one out, but Bearkat pitcher Kyle Backhus escaped the jam with a strikeout and pop up. Russell (walk) and Adames (single) were the runners.
Big Red scored its first run of the game on a sacrifice fly from Silvers that pushed across Bryndan Arredondo from third base in the fourth inning. Arredondo led off the inning with a single to left, and Russell and Adames each followed with singles to load the bags with no outs.
SHSU pulled its starter, Seth Ballew, for Dakota Mills before Silvers’ at-bat. Mills was able to end the inning on a strikeout and pop up.
Russell was 2-of-2 and Adames was 2-for-3 in the contest, and each had a run scored and at least one walk. Silvers finished 1-for-3 with four RBI and a run scored. As a unit, LU’s offense recorded eight hits and drew four walks.
Jace Campbell (1-1) suffered his first loss of the year on 4 2/3 innings. He gave up five runs on eight hits and two walks. Brett Brown relieved him and allowed one run on four hits before Ryan Cawthon took over and ended the game.
Cawthon worked 3 1/3 innings with just one hit allowed and walked none. The senior faced 11 batters and struck out five of them.
Mills (2-1) was given the win out on 2 2/3 innings out of the bullpen. He surrendered three runs on two hits and one walk. Nick Mikolajchak earned his third save of the season from one inning with one hit allowed, a Mike Leal single in the ninth.
Both Fregia and Rojas had three hits for the Kats Saturday. Fregia was 3-of-3 with three RBI and a home run, and Rojas was 3-of-4.
Lamar will look to avoid the sweep Sunday at 1 p.m. in the series finale. They continue action back at Vincent-Beck Stadium Tuesday and Wednesday, both at 4 p.m., against Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern, respectively.