Cardiac Kats stave off elimination, earn rematch with TCU Sunday night

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    Following a 22-inning marathon last night with TCU, the Sam Houston State Bearkats (42-18) took the field against the Siena Saints (27-32) in an elimination game and came out with a 9-2 win.

    They’ll play TCU at 7 p.m. while Siena heads home.

    “We definitely want to go out there and get revenge,” Bearkats infielder Dylan Ebbs said. “It is a huge deal for us to be alive in the regional after last night.”

    Sam Houston State played in the second-longest game in NCAA Baseball Championship history the night before and had to find a way to rally and compete against a rested Siena team.

    The first inning went by with no damage.

    In the second inning, SHSU’s bats woke up and delivered five runs, putting Siena in a familiar situation. The Saints faced a 7-0 deficit in their previous game against Dallas Baptist, but were able to come back and top the Patriots 9-8 in extra innings.  

    Head coach Tony Rossi would go to his bullpen early and bring in Kyano Cummings, a sophomore lefty.

    Siena responded midway through the fourth inning with a pair of runs on a Dan Swain double to make the score 5-2. Sam Houston would go down 1-2-3 to end the inning.

    After two Saints reached base safely, third baseman Justin Esquerra singled to left field, loading the bases with one out. After John Rooney struck out swinging, Brian Fay would fly out to deep right leaving three Siena runners stranded.

    Siena’s Cummings would make quick work of the Bearkats as he forced a weak grounder for the first out and struck out the next two batters swinging.

    SHSU pitcher Sam Odom was relieved by righty Seth Holbert.

    Holbert inherited a two man on and two out situation in the sixth. He’d get the job done, forcing Vincent Citro to ground out to second base. 

    Cummings continued his stellar performance as he took care of the SHSU batters in a 1-2-3 fashion again. That would be 10 straight batters without a hit. 

    The Siena batters would threaten again in the top of the seventh with a hit and a walk. With two men on and two outs, Andres Ortiz struck out swinging, leaving the score at 5-2.

    Cummings would allow a single and then hit a batter, putting a man on first and second with two outs. Rossi then called the bullpen and brought in righty Matt Quintana.

    SHSU would use a pinch hitter in Anthony Azar. He took Quintana’s second pitch deep to left with a two RBI double to pad the Bearkats lead 7-2.

    Once again, the Saints would put two runners on base but SHSU’s Carter Burgess would rob Siena of any offense with a highlight reel catch at third to end the first half of the eighth inning. 

    Corey Toups drove in another Bearkat run with an RBI double. Toups would score right after on a Colt Atwood infield single. 

    With the score at 9-2, Rossi would call on Ed Lewicki to get the Saints out of the ninth.

    Siena’s season was three outs away from ending. 

    Holbert would stay on the mound for SHSU to try and close out the game.

    Three up, three down. SHSU would move on to face to TCU later in the evening. 

    Ebbs was excited to get another crack at TCU.

    Siena coach Tony Rossi said he was proud of his team despite the season ending loss.

    “I loved the way my kids worked all year,” Rossi said. 

    Rossi also said the team had been in similar situations before but were just unable to fight back this time.

    “We ran out of gas and we ran out of time,” Rossi said.

    Siena first baseman Vincent Citro said it was a year to remember for the ball club.

    “I told everyone in the locker room how proud I was of this team. We fought hard all year long,” Citro said. 

    Sam Houston will take the field at 7 p.m. on Sunday night to play TCU in a rematch of last night’s 22-inning game.