The first-place Sam Houston State Bearkats overcame a 1-0 first-inning deficit and rolled past the University of Central Arkansas Bears 12-1 in Southland Conference baseball action on Thursday night at Bear Stadium.

The Bears (24-27, 15-16), fighting for their first SLC Tournament bid, took a 1-0 lead in the first on a groundout by Travis Snider that scored Blake Marchal. But the Bears got nothing more until junior Ethan Harris’ solo home run in the bottom of the ninth. Harris finished 3 for 5, while Marchal was 2 for 4.

UCA managed just six hits off Sam Houston starter Caleb Smith and reliever Taylor Holt. The Bearkats (35-17, 23-8) recorded 12 runs on 12 hits against five UCA pitchers. Starter Jeffery Enloe (5-7) took the loss, leaving with two outs in the second inning. He allowed 5 hits and 6 earned runs with 4 walks.

The Bearkats put up six runs in the second inning, two in the fifth and added four morein the ninth. Leadoff batter Colt Atwood was 3 for 6 with two RBI, while Ryan O’Hearn, Corey Toups, Greg Olson and John Hale all had two hits apiece.

Smith (8-4) got the win and Holt (1) got the three-inning save for the Bearkats.

UCA entered the game in sixth place in the conference, with the top eight teams getting berths to the tournament. The Bears are still in sixth with two games remaining as the two teams behind them in the standings both lost.

Game 2 of the series is set for 6 p.m. Friday. “Senior Day” activities will be held prior to Saturday’s 1 p.m. start of the series finale.