Bearkats continue offensive surge into midweek

Mar. 20—HUNTSVILLE — After a weekend full of runs and a strong offensive push, Sam Houston welcomed Baylor to Don Sanders Stadium for a midweek game.

With 35 runs scored over three days against New Mexico State, the Bearkat bats stayed hot against the Bears. Sam Houston brought home 18 runs on seven hits to grab the 18-3 win over Baylor.

Junior two-way player Malachi Lott led the way offensively with five hits, as junior Walker Janek drove in three runs on the strong performance. Janek has homered in five of the last six games and has a hit in each of the Bearkats games this season.

"After the first hit, I knew it would be a good day," Lott said. "With the swing and where it was, I knew it would be a good day."

Lott and Janek got the offense going early in the first inning. Sophomore Caleb Cotton batted leadoff, drawing a walk to get on the bags. One pitch later, the Bearkats held a 2-0 lead after Janek went 360 feet over the right field wall.

Lott followed that up with a double before scoring on a passed ball to give Sam Houston the early three-run lead.

With the lead, Sam Houston was able to play its game and capitalized on a tough night on the mound for Baylor.

In the bottom of the third, Sam Houston plated 12 runs on nine hits and put the game out of reach. The Bearkats loaded the bases after freshman Jace Martinez drew a walk. From there, the bats were alive and saw four straight singles that led to five runs.

Baylor ran through three pitchers in the frame before the Kats had three outs.

"That's a good club. Sometimes it's just good to be back home," Sam Houston head coach Jay Sirianni said. "I thought Mike did a good job of hanging the first zero. It happens, it's baseball. We didn't throw away any at-bats."

Things didn't stop there for Sam Houston. Immediately after turning in 12 runs, the Kats put another two on the board in the fourth to keep the pressure going.

With a 15-run lead, Sirianni did a full-line change to give some of the younger guys an opportunity at the plate and the field. Getting them reps will give Sirianni some fresh bodies for the Bearkats' Wednesday game and big weekend series against Dallas Baptist University.

"Those guys have earned an opportunity. They have worked their tails off," Sirianni said. "I thought we did a good job, especially on the mound. I thought we attacked the strike zone. We had a few more walks than we wanted. For the most part, those guys that hadn't pitched in a while did well."

With such a hectic week coming up, Sam Houston was lucky to escape by using four arms for the entire nine innings. Starter Michael Watson led the way with four innings pitched. Watson likely would have gone further, but the 30-plus minute third inning let his arm cool off.

Watson has started two games for the Bearkats and made four relief appearances this season. Watson hit the third batter he faced to give the Bears their first base runner. But he settled in.

Baylor took Watson for one hit and one run in four innings as he lowered his ERA to 3.44 after the outing.

To get him out, Sirianni gave freshman Noah Kendrick the third appearance of his young season and the most innings of work. Kendrick wrapped up two innings of three-hit baseball, where the Bears scored two runs.

Brock Rod carried another two innings and shut the Baylor offense down with one hit while striking out two.

Lott showed off his arm and closed the game where he struck out two of the final three outs.

"I knew we had a good lead, and I knew I had the defense behind me. There's never any pressure when you have a defense like that. You can just throw the ball over the plate," Lott said.

Sam Houston has an opportunity to keep the offensive firepower going with another midweek game. The Kats will host former Southland foe Northwestern for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday first pitch at Don Sanders Stadium.