By Cheval John
Reporter, Vallano Media
Sam Houston State Bearkats opened Southland Conference play with a 5-0 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders at Don Sanders Stadium in Hunstville, TX last night.
The Bearkats got an outstanding performance from starting pitcher Cody Dickson, who went the distance with 11 strike outs and got the win.
“I really thought he commanded the strike zone and that's something great to see,” Bearkat coach David Pierce said. “It's such a tribute to him because he continues to work.”
“I kept pounding the strike zone and made them swing the bat,” Dickson said. “Our defense played great tonight. Luckily, it all fell into place.”
The Bearkats (1-0 Southland Conference play, 11-10 overall) scored their first run in the bottom of the first that made it 1-0 on a two out, RBI single by designated hitter Hayden Simerly.
Dickson had a no-hitter going through 5 2/3 innings before Cody Stephens broke it up with a single that just got by second baseman Ryan Farney and gave the Islanders only their second base runner of the night (Brandon Tierney was hit by a pitch in the third inning).
Stephens went on to steal second base and gave the Islanders (0-1 Southland Conference play, 12-10 overall) a chance to tie the game.
But Dickson settled down and strike out left fielder Jordan Lee to end the threat.
“Once he gave up the hit, we were going for a strike out,” Pierce said.
Sam Houston responded by exploding for three runs, all with two outs in the bottom of the sixth to increase the lead to 4-0.
Burgess scored from third after a third baseman couldn't handle the sharp liner by right fielder Romeo Cortina.
The next batter, Colt Atwood followed with a two run single to left field that scored Kevin Miller and Cortina from second and third, respectivly.
Burgess started the massacre after he reached first on a wild pitch after striking out and advanced to third on a single up the middle by Miller.
“It kind of took the pressure off me,” Dickson said. “It was a great night and a great performance by everyone.”
A sacrifice fly by Anthony Azar increased the lead to 5-0.
Dickson took care of the rest as he went on to finish the game and gave the Bearkats their first Friday night win of the season.
Coach Pierce was pleased with taking the first game of the series and is aiming for the Bearkats to be consistent in the second game that begins later today at 4 p.m.
“We got to stay aggressive with attacking the strike zone and allow the defense to work and hopefully get some timely hits,” Pierce said.