HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- The Bearkats will look to stay atop the conference standings when they host the newest Southland baseball member Oral Roberts for a three-game weekend series. The series starts Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Don Sanders Stadium.
Sam Houston (22-15, 8-4) is riding high after midweek wins over Texas A&M and Prairie View A&M on consecutive days. The Kats are in a four-way tie for first in the league with Southeastern Louisiana, Stephen F. Austin, and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Oral Roberts (11-23, 6-6) is coming off of a series win over Southeastern Louisiana at home. The Golden Eagles have played an extremely tough non-conference schedule with games against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Cal State Fullerton, Wichita State, and Dallas Baptist.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday: LHP Cody Dickson (5-3, 4.70 ERA) vs. RHP Alex Gonzalez (4-4, 2.78 ERA)
Saturday: LHP Andrew Godail (4-1, 3.58 ERA) vs. RHP Drew Bowen (4-0, 2.60 ERA)
Sunday: LHP Caleb Smith (4-4, 3.40 ERA) vs. RHP Tim Zufall (1-3, 3.34 ERA)
“Oral Roberts is a very streaky but very good team,” said Bearkat coach David Pierce. “Their record is not very good but they have played an extremely tough non-conference schedule early on. They can pitch and play defense and at times have shown some offense.”
Second baseman Jessie Plumlee has emerged as a one of the Bearkats offensive leaders. The senior has a team-high .378 batting average with 14 RBI and 17 runs scored. Plumlee has only started 26 games this season after missing a stretch because of injury.
Third baseman Kevin Miller is batting .358 with a team-high 26 runs scored. The senior hasn’t needed extra-base hits to get the job done. Of Miller’s 49 hits this season, 46 are singles.
Designated Hitter Hayden Simerly leads the team with five homers. The sophomore has 25 RBI and has knocked in three runs in each of the last two games.
Friday night starter Cody Dickson will be looking to rebound after a rough start last week at Lamar. The junior issued six free passes and gave up eight hits.
Reliever Jason Simms has been solid coming out of the bullpen. The junior has five saves with a 3.19 ERA and 30 strikeouts to just 12 walks.
Oral Roberts has struggled offensively at times this season, with just a .236 team batting average. Shortstop Nate Goro leads the team with a .274 batting average. Left fielder Logan Domenico has a team-high 22 runs scored with a .265 average. DH Tyler Boss leads the team with 19 RBI.
The ORU pitching staff has been strong this season. Friday night starter Alex Gonzalez is third in the Southland in ERA. The junior leads the league with 74 strikeouts in 67 1/3 innings pitched.
The series continues Saturday at 4 p.m. with the finale Sunday at 1 p.m.