The Sam Houston State baseball team announced its schedule for the 2013 campaign, highlighted by 30 games at Don Sanders Stadium. The 2012 Southland Conference champions will host in-state rivals Baylor, Houston, Rice, and Texas A&M in non-conference play.
"I really believe we have a very good schedule and a very tough schedule," said Sam Houston head baseball coach David Pierce. "For our team to grow and become better, we have to play the best opponents. It will be a great challenge for us."
Sam Houston will play two exhibition games on the road this fall. The Kats will tussle with Rice at Reckling Park Oct. 21 and the following weekend against Texas at Disch-Falk Field.
The season opener for Sam Houston will be at the Texas State Tournament in San Marcos, Feb. 15-17, and the first game at Don Sanders Stadium is against Houston on Feb. 19.
The non-conference home slate, in addition to Baylor, Houston, Rice, and A&M, features home series against Louisiana-Monroe, Arkansas State, and Connecticut. Sam Houston will also host UTA and Prairie View A&M in 2013.
The Bearkats will have return trips to Baylor, Houston, Rice, and Texas A&M in 2013 as well as a trip to Austin to face Texas, and to San Antonio to play UTSA. The final non-conference series for the Kats is at Dallas Baptist. The DBU Patriots are a perennial NCAA Tournament participant and the Bearkats have plenty of history against them. The Kats lead the series with Dallas Baptist 21-12.
"We are always looking at how does our schedule put us in a position at the end of the year to have a shot at postseason play," Coach Pierce said. "Our pre-conference schedule and our mid weeks prepare us for that."
Sam Houston opens defense of the 2012 Southland championship at home against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, March 22-24. The Kats will host Oral Roberts, April 19-21, for the first-ever conference series between the two teams.
The other home conference series for the Bearkats are McNeese State, Nicholls State, and Central Arkansas. Sam Houston will face plenty of tests on the road with Stephen F. Austin, Lamar, Northwestern State, and Southeastern Louisiana all away.
"Every team in our league is good enough to beat you," said Pierce. "Every team is capable of taking two out of three or sweeping you if you aren't prepared.
The 2013 Southland Conference Baseball Tournament will be played at Constellation Field, the home of the Sugarland Skeeters, May 22-25. The Skeeters play in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. This is a return to a neutral site for the conference baseball championship after recently being hosted at campus sites.
"I really like that we're going to a neutral site," Pierce said. "It's not only a neutral site but also a beautiful ballpark. It's in a great location for us and it should be very fan-friendly. I can't think of a better place for our conference tournament."
The 2012 season was one of the best in Sam Houston baseball history. The Bearkats won the conference regular season title and received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. SHSU knocked out regional hosts Rice before falling to Arkansas in the regional finals.
The 2013 NCAA Regional games are slated for May 31-June 3 before Super Regionals take place the weekend of June 7-10. College baseball's national champion will be crowned in Omaha during the College World Series on June 15-26.