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Sam Houston State Wins 2016 Tournament
Erik WIlliams/Southland Conference

Sam Houston State Wins 2016 Tournament

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SUGAR LAND, Texas –
No. 1 Sam Houston State defeated No. 2 Southeastern Louisiana 7-4 in the 2016 Southland Conference Baseball Tournament Championship game Sunday afternoon at Constellation Field.
 
The Bearkats’ offense was led by junior catcher Robie Rojas who scored two runs off of two hits while picking up two RBIs in four at bats. Freshman right fielder Hunter Heard went 2-for-3 with one RBI and one walk.
 
Senior left-hander Hayden Nixon picked up the win to improve to 4-2 on the season for the Bearkats.
 
In the top of the third inning, junior first baseman Jameson Fisher launched the ball over the left field wall with the bases load for a grand slam and a 4-0 lead over the Bearkats. Fisher scored junior third baseman Derrick Mount, freshman shortstop Brennan Breaud and senior designated hitter Daniel Midyett.
 
Sam Houston put a run on the board in the bottom of the third inning as freshman left fielder Clayton Harp doubled off the right-center wall scoring junior shortstop Taylor Beene to cut the Lion’s lead, 4-1.
 
The Lions made a pitching changing with one in the bottom of the fourth inning bringing in senior left-hander Kyle Cedotal. Sam Houston’s Rojas singled to left center scoring senior first baseman Zach Smith and freshman designated hitter Jaxxon Grisham scored on a throwing error. Hearn singled to left field to score Rojas to tie the game, 4-4.
 
Sam Houston’s Rojas doubled to right center scoring Grisham to take 5-4 lead with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning. Rojas advanced to third on a while pitch and would also score on another wild pitch to extend the Bearkats’ lead 6-4.
 
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Sam Houston tacked on one more run on a sacrifice bunt from Beene to score Grisham, giving the Bearkats a 7-4 lead over the Lions.
 
Sam Houston claimed its fifth tournament title in program history with wins in 1996, 2007, 2008 and 2009. The last time a No. 1 seed won the regular season and tournament title Texas State defeated No. 2 Stephen F. Austin 9-0 in 2011 in San Marcos, Texas.
 
The Bearkats earn the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA tournament. The field of 64 will be announced Monday at 11 a.m., CDT, on ESPNU. The tournament begins with regional play June 3-5 at campus sites. Super Regionals will be held June 10-12 and the College World Series will be June 18-28/29.

Sam Houston State Head Coach Matt Deggs
On Southland coaches
“Southeastern Louisiana is a great ball club. They’re a regional ball club. They could go win a regional. They were a great opponent today. I have a lot of respect for them. Our boys are just resilient. I love my coaches. They coach their butts off every single day. They’ve coached these guys as hard as you can coach a group of guys.”
 
Overview on the game
“We were down and out for a while. The most powerful force on earth is redemption and second chance, and we got new life about the middle of the season, and we made the most of it. And that’s the best honor you can give somebody is when you’re down, they get back up and come back swinging. That’s what this ball club did. They deserve to be in a regional. I think they’ll be a force in the regional. I still think we have our best baseball to play.”
 
“Offense just kept grinding against some really good arms. We go down 4-0, and we don’t tap out. We just come back swinging, and that’s what these boys have done all year.”
 
“We said it all year; we ain’t got no glass jaw. This is just a bunch of blue-collar guys that don’t know any better. When we get punched, we’re going to punch right back. [The grand slam] can knock the breath out of you for sure, and it did. It knocked the wind out of us. It took about 30 minutes to recover from it, and we were right back. We were back to grinding, chipped a run away, and then we’re able to have that big inning the next inning to tie that thing up. It stayed like that for two-to-three innings, and then Robie Rojas got that big hit.”
 
Sam Houston State Junior Catcher Robie Rojas
“We’ve never made anything easy for us all year. We just know coach Deggs has put it in us that we’re never out of fight. We could be down 15, and we’re still going to fight back. [Jameson Fisher] put a good piece on the ball, so we just knew we had to scrap. We had plenty of game left.”
 
Sam Houston State Junior Shortstop Taylor Beene
“Our fall was a grind. This [championship] is what was on our minds, and what we were going for.  Waking up at 6:30, this is what we wanted, and we went to go get it and accomplish it.”
 
Southeastern Louisiana Head Coach Matt Riser
Overview on the game
“That’s a tough crew over there. They found a way to get a two-out knock and make it 4-1. We talked about it, today they got the ball to fall and we couldn’t. I thought we made all out mistakes aggressively, which I’m perfectly fine with. If you’re going to make mistakes, make them aggressive and I thought we did that from our stand point. At the end of the day you have two really good ball clubs going at it and at the end of the day we hit the ball well, split the game and their guys ran them down. The ball went their way. They ball didn’t go our way. You’ve got to tip your hat to them, their kids played hard, but you kids did too.”

2016 Southland Conference All-Tournament Team
 
 
Lance Miles Sam Houston State
Zach Smith Sam Houston State
Jameson Fisher Southeastern La.
Robie Rojas Sam Houston State
Nick Ramos Stephen F. Austin
Conner Fikes Stephen F. Austin
Jacob Seward Southeastern La.
Webb Bobo Southeastern La.
Carson Crites Southeastern La.
Mac Sceroler Southeastern La.
Kaleb Fontenot McNeese
Most Valuable Player
Heath Donica Sam Houston State