The Road to Omaha will end in Lubbock for the Arizona Wildcats.
In an elimination game against the Sam Houston State Bearkats on Sunday, Arizona fell behind big early and couldn’t climb out of the hole, ultimately losing 9-3.
After pitching a scoreless tenth inning against Delaware the previous day, Cody Deason got the start on the mound for the Wildcats.
Through the first five outs, he had allowed just one run, and it appeared he would get through the second inning with that total intact.
But that’s when the Bearkats caught fire at the plate, as the next four hitters would reach against Deason, then the next three would also reach against Landon Faulkner to score eight total runs in the inning and give SHSU a 9-0 lead.
The eight-run inning was tied for the most for Sam Houston State all year. They also scored eight against Abilene Christian this season.
Arizona looked like it was about to make a big rally in the fourth. With Hayden Wesneski taking over on the mound for Seth Ballew, the Wildcats got two runs in and loaded the bases before recording an out.
But the huge inning threat was ended when Louis Boyd lined out to the first baseman, who proceeded to double up Kyle Lewis. Cal Stevenson then tapped a soft grounder down the first base line to end the frame.
That liner by Boyd seemed to take all the wind out of Arizona’s sails.
The first time the Wildcats went down in order in an inning against the Bearkats this weekend came in the 6th, ending a 14-inning streak of having at least one hitter reach base.
All credit is due to Robby Medel, who tossed 3 1⁄3 innings of one-hit baseball after coming in with a nine-run deficit. If Arizona is able to really break open that fourth inning, who knows what happens.
Randy Labaut, Luke Soroko, and Austin Schnabel also had scoreless outings to end the game. Soroko, a senior who went through Tommy John surgery, received hugs from Jay Johnson and some teammates as he was removed from his last outing with one out in the ninth.
Boyd launched his first career HR in his last at bat in the ninth inning. JJ Matijevic tied the single-season school record with his 30th double of the year in the final frame as well.
Arizona finishes the year with a record of 38-21, but also lost four of their last five games with the only win being an extra-inning victory over Delaware.