The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX

Sports

June 1, 2014

NCAA FORT WORTH REGIONAL: Too bad, so sad for SHSU

Bearkats hit ball hard, but nothing falls in 6-1 loss to Horned Frogs

FORT WORTH — The Bearkats knew they had a tough task ahead of them, staving off elimination twice on Sunday to force a winner-take-all contest for a super regional spot.

The task proved to be too tall to overcome.

After beating Siena 9-2 in an elimination game early in the afternoon at Lupton Stadium, Sam Houston State could not get enough hits to fall and lost  6-1 Sunday night to TCU, the tournament’s host and winner of the Fort Worth Regional.

“It hurts,” Bearkats shortstop Corey Toups said. “We’ve played a lot of innings in the past two days. I’m just thankful to be here with these guys. The four seniors were definitely a big part of it. They’re great guys that we all look up to and to spend the last couple of months with has been incredible.

“It was a bad taste in our mouth after last night. We came out here looking to take it one game at a time. Once we took care of the first one today, coming out here tonight we wanted to take care of business tonight. We just came up a little bit short.”

The Bearkats (43-19 overall) had plenty of hard-hit balls that flew right to TCU defenders, while the Horned Frogs had several singles on the night that didn’t escape the SHSU infield.

Additionally, TCU’s starting pitcher Tyler Alexander pitched brilliantly. Sam Houston’s stable of pitchers, most likely exhausted from playing 22 innings Saturday night, then surviving the afternoon heat Sunday, battled but could ran into more bad luck as several soft grounders turned into infield hits.

The Bearkats got after Alexander, who threw a complete game, in the second inning.

Kick-started with back-to-back singles by Toups and designated hitter Hayden Simerly, Sam Houston had runners on the corners with one out. At the plate for the Kats was left fielder Luke Plucheck, who was ruled out for runner’s interference and then ejected in the 21st inning early Sunday morning on a play that could have given the Kats a victory in the first meeting with TCU (45-15).

Plucheck came through in Sunday’s late game with a squeeze bunt that drove in Toups.

“We were swinging the bats well,” Toups said. “We just came up short.”

TCU pulled even in the bottom of the inning.

First baseman Kevin Cron led off with a double down the left-field line. Second baseman Garrett Crain dropped a bunt down the third-base line that went for a single to put runners on the corners with no outs.

Then the Horned Frogs took the lead for good in the third as Crain singled through the left side of the infield to drive in center fielder Cody Jones from third.

The Bearkats couldn’t get much going the rest of the way, connecting for just three hits from the fourth inning on.

Junior lefthander Andrew Godail got the start for the Bearkats. Godail got out to a good start, retiring the side in the first inning. He ran into trouble in the second and third innings, however, giving up five hits and a pair of runs.

With no margin for error, Sam Houston used Nolan Riggs, Alan Scott, Jason Simms and Dirk Masters in relief. The Bearkat pitchers performed well enough, but seven infield singles by the Horned Frogs put plenty of pressure on the pitching staff.

“I didn’t think we pitched that bad,” Sam Houston head coach David Pierce said. “I thought TCU really made great adjustments and swung the bat really well. They get a lot of credit for their pitching and defense, but their position players are better than they get credit for.”

Simms pitched 1 1/3 innings after throwing 99 pitches in seven innings against TCU on Saturday night.

“Any chance I can to go out there and compete, I’m going to thrive on the opportunity,” Simms said. “I love baseball games and I love baseball. Any time I can go out there and be a part of the game, I love it.”

TCU kept adding to its lead, scoring in fifth and sixth innings to up the lead to 4-1 before pulling away with a two-run eighth.

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