Sam Houston State opens its 2013 Southland Conference campaign this weekend as the Bearkats play host to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi for a three-game series at Don Sanders Stadium. The Kats (10-10) will look to defend their 2012 regular-season championship.
A&M-Corpus (11-9) will play at Houston-Victoria Thursday before heading to Huntsville for the weekend series. The Islanders beat Harvard 7-6 Monday after losing two-of-three to Texas State over the weekend.
The first game of the series is scheduled for first pitch at 6:30 p.m. Friday night.
“A&M-Corpus is going to give us a fight,” said Bearkat head coach David Pierce. “They were probably our toughest opponent in conference last year. We’re going to have get consistent play this week to get out on the right foot.”
TENTATIVE PITCHING MATCHUPS:
Friday: LHP Cody Dickson (2-2, 3.86 ERA) vs. RHP Trevor Foss (3-2, 3.00 ERA)
Saturday: LHP Andrew Godail (3-0, 3.76 ERA) vs. Trevor Belicek (2-2, 4.91 ERA)
Sunday: TBA vs. Adam Hoelscher (1-2, 5.81 ERA)
Sam Houston split a pair of midweek games with Baylor after a 4-2 win in Waco Tuesday and a 4-1 loss at home Wednesday. Caleb Smith got the win in Tuesday’s game, pitching seven solid innings allowing just two runs on six hits while striking out five and walking none.
The Kats are looking for their first series win since they won back-to-back series over Louisiana-Monroe and Arkansas State. Connecticut and Dallas Baptist each took two-of-three from SHSU recently.
The Bearkats are led offensively by their sophomore middle infielders. Shortstop Carter Burgess leads the team in hitting with a .342 average and has a team-high eight extra-base hits. Second baseman Ryan Farney is hitting .333 and leads the team with seven doubles.
Left fielder Luke Plucheck is swinging a hot bat with two homeruns in his last four games. The junior is batting .333 with a team-high 14 RBI and 13 runs scored. He’s also riding a six-game hitting streak.
The Sam Houston pitching staff continues to search for consistency. The Bearkats have more strikeouts than any other Southland team with 166 but have also issued more walks than the others with 111.
Reliever Jason Simms has pitched consistently out of the bullpen. The righty holds a 2.25 ERA and picked up saves against Texas, Rice, and Baylor. He has 19 strikeouts to just seven walks in 16 innings of work.
The Islanders are led by senior Eric Weiss with a team-leading .351 batting average and 17 RBI. First baseman Jonathan Gonzales leads the team with 19 RBI this season, and is third in batting average at .338.
“At times this season (the Islanders) look unbeatable and at times they’ve been inconsistent,” Pierce said. “They played two tough series the last two weekends and probably could have won both series but ended up losing both (at Houston and Texas State).”
Friday night starter Trevor Foss leads the pitching staff with 37 strikeouts in 33 innings pitched. The senior right-hander has a 3.00 ERA and a 3-2 record.
Sophomore reliever Jacob Dorris has 2.25 ERA in 12 innings of work and three saves to his credit. The righty has 15 strikeouts to just four walks.
The series continues Saturday at 4 p.m. with the finale Sunday at 1 p.m.
The upcoming midweek game against top 25-ranked Rice on March 26 will be “Service Appreciation Night” at Don Sanders Stadium. That night the Bearkat baseball team will wear special “Warrior Camo Jerseys.”
Each of the 41 jerseys will be auctioned off to fans and proceeds from the auction will benefit the Lone Survivor Foundation. The jersey auction will be held online at www.gobearkats.com and will start on March 26 (game day) and end April 7. Bidding starts at $100. Fans can bid online during the Sam Houston versus Rice game.
Tickets for this event and all other games are available now at www.gobearkats.com/tickets or by visiting or calling the Sam Houston athletic ticket office at the Ron Mafrige Field House at (936) 294-1729.