The No. 25 Sam Houston State baseball team enters its final weekend of Southland Conference play tied with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and will welcome the Islanders to Don Sanders Stadium with the conference title up for grabs.
The Bearkats (37-15, 19-8) and Islanders (30-22, 19-8) are slated for a three game set beginning Thursday with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m. The clubs will also play Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m.
Sam Houston is riding a nine-game conference winning streak after three straight sweeps over Houston Baptist, Stephen F. Austin and Southeastern Louisiana.
The Kats are in contention to clinch their third straight regular season league title. Four seniors, Anthony Azar, Luke Plucheck, Jason Simms and Alan Scott will be honored prior to Saturday’s first pitch.
Sam Houston is coming off a 3-1 midweek loss at Texas A&M while A&M-Corpus Christi’s last action came this weekend taking two-of-three from Lamar but dropping the series finale, 10-7.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Thursday: RHP Tyler Eppler (7-5, 3.70 ERA) vs. RHP Matt Danton (7-2, 3.18 ERA)
Friday: RHP Jason Simms (5-2, 2.55 ERA) vs. LHP Trevor Belicek (4-5, 3.81 ERA)
Saturday: TBA vs. RHP Devin Skapura (4-3, 4.55 ERA)
Senior Anthony Azar will make his 155th appearance in a Bearkat uniform on Thursday and has led Sam Houston in run production each of his three seasons. His career totals include a .339 batting average, 198 hits, 127 RBI, 39 doubles and 18 home runs.
Offensively, the Islanders counter with leadoff hitter Brandon Tierney who over 50 games is batting .351 while leading the club in hits (67), total bases (91) and slugging percentage (.476).
A&M-Corpus Christi enters the weekend having won five straight Southland series including triumphs over Lamar, Abilene Christian, Oral Roberts, Northwestern State and Houston Baptist.
Jason Simms will make his final regular season start in the pivotal Saturday matchup. The Argyle High School product has appeared in 45 games and holds a career 2.63 ERA with 76 strikeouts in 106 innings. Simms, formerly the Bearkat closer, has tossed two complete games as a starter in 2014.
Reliever Alan Scott will also be in his final home action after three years as a Bearkat. Scott led the team with a 1.16 ERA last season and was on the mound with the Kats clinched the 2013 NCAA Regional Opener against Louisiana-Lafayette. Soctt has made 18 appearances in 2014 and is second on the team with four saves.
Senior Luke Plucheck, a fixture in left field for Sam Houston, will make his 215th appearance after tallying 193 hits, 28 doubles, 11 triples, 15 homers, 120 runs scored and 109 RBI. The Tomball product has made a name as one of the league’s premier outfielders and earned all-conference honors in 2012 and 2013.
All three games this weekend are “Youth Baseball Days.” Any youth baseball and softball player who wears their uniform to the game will receive free admission and parent’s tickets start at $6.
Kids will have the opportunity to run the bases after Saturday’s regular season finale. Purchase tickets online by clicking here or over the phone by calling 936-294-1729.