Rice, the number six seed in the NCAA Division I baseball national
tournament, will be the first round opponent for Sam Houston State in the regional tournament at Reckling Park in Houston Friday.
Sam Houston State (37-23) earned its second consecutive NCAA Division I playoff appearance Saturday by winning the Southland Conference post-season tournament again. The Bearkats are making their fifth appearance in the NCAA event.
Rice (42-13) defeated Sam Houston in the pair's two meetings this year. The Owls won 9-7 in Huntsville March 4 and 3-2 in Houston April 22.
The other first round game in the Houston regional will be Texas vs. Saint John's.
"This is a heck of a regional with Rice and Texas," Sam Houston State head coach Mark Johnson. "Both have great ball clubs. We don't know much about Saint John's right now, but we're going to find out more soon. As Big East regular season champions, they'll be a solid ball club as well."
Last year, Sam Houston State reached the regional finals at Ole Miss,
falling to the Rebels in the final game after knocking off Southern
Mississippi and Troy.
"We're excited to be going to another regional. There are only 64 teams out of more than 300 that are still playing and it's great to be one of them," Johnson said. "We had two really good games with Rice this year. They are an outstanding team. It's great to be playing so close to home as well. Hopefully, we'll get a lot of Bearkat fans down at Reckling to give us support."
Hitting has been the strength for Sam Houston State this season with a
school and Southland Conference record team batting average of .337. The Bearkats have also gotten solid pitching from their young throwers.
"We don't expect to change very much of what we've been doing. We been hitting the ball well of late and got solid pitching performances in the tournament," Johnson said.