Kats Face Cowboys in Southland First Round

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Sam Houston State will play No. 8 seed McNeese State at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the first round of the 2013 Southland Conference Baseball Tournament.

The Bearkats are the No. 1 seed in the Southland tournament for the second consecutive season. Last season the Kats went 2-2 in the conference tournament and were knocked out by Texas-Arlington.

First-team All-Southland members Kevin Miller and Anthony Azar helped the Kats win 14-of-15 games to close the regular season. Miller leads the team in hitting with a .353 average and 71 hits this season. The senior has 34 RBI and 35 runs scored.

Azar leads the team in runs batted in with 45, while batting .314 with 19 doubles and five homers. The junior has 61 hits and 34 runs scored. The backstop has yet to make an error this season.

“I really believe we are playing well and if we attack the strike zone we have a chance to beat anybody in the country,” said Bearkat coach David Pierce. “We’ve had some guys get hot and feed off of each other but our best chance to win will be if we attack the strike zone. We are feeling good about ourselves and I’m looking forward to letting these guys go out and play.”

Sam Houston swept McNeese State at Don Sanders Stadium, April 5-7. The Cowboys are led by Jackson Gooch who is batting .308 with 34 RBI and 39 runs scored. He’s ripped 15 doubles and five homers.

Only twice in the 19-year modern history of the tournament, which decides the Southland's representative to the NCAA Regionals, has the No. 1 seed won the event.

The Bearkats won in 1996 in Shreveport, La., 2007 in Natchitoches, La., 2008 in Huntsville and 2009 in Corpus Christi. Sam Houston was seeded fourth in 1996, 2007 and 2008 and seventh in 2009 (to become the lowest seed ever to win the event).

An all-tournament pass, which allows entry into all 15 possible games of the tournament, is $50. A single-day pass, which will include four games on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with a maximum of three games on Saturday, is $15 each day.

Tickets will be available for purchase in person at the Constellation Field box office, by phone at 281-240-4487, ext. 300, and online at sugarlandskeeters.com. Online orders are subject to a $1 service charge per ticket.

Live audio broadcasts of Sam Houston's games in the tournament will be streamed on www.gobearkats.com. The entire 2012 Southland Baseball Tournament up until the championship game will be streamed live for free on SLC NOW, available at www.southland.org.

The championship game of the tournament will be available exclusively on ESPN3.

Complete 2013 Southland Conference Baseball Tournament pairings:
Wednesday, May 22
Game One: No. 6 Stephen F. Austin vs. No. 3 Oral Roberts, 9 a.m.
Game Two: No. 7 Central Arkansas vs. No. 2 A&M-Corpus Christi, Noon
Game Three: No. 8 McNeese St. vs. No. 1 Sam Houston St., 4 p.m.
Game Four: No. 5 Lamar vs. No. 4 Southeastern La., 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 23
Game Five: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 9 a.m.
Game Six: Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, Noon
Game Seven: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 4 p.m.
Game Eight: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 7 p.m.

Friday, May 24
Game Nine: Loser Game 7 vs. Winner Game 5, 9 a.m.
Game 10: Loser Game 8 vs. Winner Game 6, Noon
Game 11: Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 9, 4 p.m.
Game 12: Winner Game 8 vs. Winner Game 10, 7 p.m.

Saturday, May 25
*#Game 13: Loser Game 11 vs. Winner Game 11, 9 a.m.
^#Game 14: Loser Game 12 vs. Winner Game 12, 1 p.m.
+Championship: Winner Game 13 vs. Winner Game 14, 1 or 5 p.m.

If both bracket winners are undefeated, the championship game will be played Saturday at 1 p.m.
If either Game 13 or 14 is necessary, championship game will start at 5 p.m.

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