HUNTSVILLE -- Four of the top 10 hitters in Southland Conference baseball will square off against each other this weekend as Sam Houston State plays host to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the Bearkats' first home league series of the 2007 season at Don Sanders Stadium.
The Islanders, new members of the Southland this spring, lead the league in hitting with a 341 team batting average. Senior infielder Jason Graham ranks third in the SLC with a .420 average and outfielder Chase Williams stands ninth at .380.
Sam Houston State, ranked third as a team in league hitting with a .329
average, counters with the SLC's top hitter, Bobby Verbick (.474), and
sixth-ranked Keith Stein (.458).
The Bearkats (16-8, SLC 2-1) are one of the league's hottest teams, having won eight of their last 10 games and 15 of their last 19. Sam Houston State took two of three games from Central Arkansas on the road last weekend.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (14-11, SLC 1-2) opened SLC action last weekend taking only one of three from Northwestern State. The Islanders have lost six of their last eight, but that includes defeats of 2-1 by Rice, 3-0 by TCU, 9-4 by Texas Tech, and 10-6 by Texas.
The three-game series begins Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Don Sanders Stadium. The pair will play Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
Sam Houston State expects to throw Jesse Marshall (4-1) and Jacob Howard (4-2) in the first two games. Sunday's starter has yet to be annnounced.
The Bearkats still are looking for pitching help in the middle innings. Sam
Houston has outscored foes 120-98 in the first five innings and 37-17 in the last two, but have been outscored 50-41 in the sixth and seventh innings.