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College : : Story
Rising Eppler outduels Finnegan
Kendall Rogers        
Published: Saturday, March 01, 2014

Houston Classic Coverage: UH's Garza shines  MORE: Weekend preview | Perfect Game College Top 25

HOUSTON – Sam Houston State head coach David Pierce said in Baton Rouge last June that his club getting to an NCAA Regional, in that atmosphere, would pay dividends in the near future.

Little did Pierce know at the time it would do so the third week of the 2014 college baseball season. Though some teams tend to go to the Houston College Classic, on a Major League Baseball field, and play somewhat timid in the opening game, the Bearkats looked like a seasoned team who had played in plenty of potentially nerve-racking atmospheres in a dominant 9-4 win over TCU.

This game caught plenty of attention before Friday for one big reason – the contest pitted Sam Houston State junior right-handed pitcher Tyler Eppler against TCU left-handed pitcher Brandon Finnegan, who, barring a surprise, will be a first-round pick in the upcoming MLB draft. Eppler also should be a decent round selection.

At least on this day, Eppler was more efficient and did a much better job of making big pitches in clutch situations.

“They did exactly what you have to do against a great pitcher. They grinded out some at bats, and [Hayden] Simerly got the big trouble. They just went out there and put people in position to score,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “They either got a hit, we had a wild pitch, whatever you want to call it. Today’s game was the first time this year we’ve had a ball hit the backstop.

“They just beat us in every phase of the game.”

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