Baseball season opens for Sam Houston State Friday when the Bearkats begin play in the University of Texas-Pan American Invitational in Edinburg.
Sam Houston opens play Friday at 3 p.m. against the University of Illinois.
The Bearkats then meet two Southland Conference opponents, facing Lamar at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Texas State-San Marcos at 5 p.m. Sunday. Following the contest with the Bobcats, SHSU meets host team Texas-Pan American at 8:30 p.m.
The Bearkats return six pitchers and seven other players who lettered last season. Included among that group are outfielders Keith Stein, Bobby Verbick, and Todd Sebek; pitcher Jacob Howard, and catcher Heath Pugh who all earned All-Southland Conference last year.
Other returning lettermen include first baseman Nick Zaleski, infielder
Jamie Rohlmeier, outfielder Tyson Mire, and pitchers Jon Lindenberger,
Stephen Price, Casey Springer, Adam Albright, and Zac Baker. Ryan Trevino, a starter from the 2006 team, also returns for 2008.
The 2007 Bearkats went 40-24, Sam Houston's best season mark since 1988. The team won the Southland Conference post-season tournament and reached the NCAA Division I regional finals.
Twelve players on the 2007 squad were seniors and Head Coach Mark Johnson has brought in a group of five transfers and 10 freshmen to fill the gaps.
Three of those new players are among the group of four pitchers expected to start in each of the four games at the Pan Am tournament.
Howard will start against Illinois Friday. The other three probable starters
are Brent Powers, a left-handed freshman from Richardson; Will Skelton, a transfer from TCU; and Zach Neal, a freshman from Flower Mound.
Following the Pan American tournament, Sam Houston State will play a
three-game series at Louisiana-Monroe Friday, Feb. 29 through Sunday, March 2, before the Bearkats open their 2008 home schedule at Don Sanders Stadium Tuesday, March 4, at 6:30 p.m. against the Rice Owls.
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