By Cheval John
HUNTSVILLE, TEXAS-Recently, Sam Houston State (SHSU) earned another at-large bid to participate in the NCAA Baseball Tournament that is set to begin this Friday.
It was SHSU’s third consecutive at-large bid to the field of 64 after being eliminated in the Southland Conference (SLC) Baseball Tournament by tournament winner, Southeastern Louisiana.
The Bearkats, who secured their third consecutive SLC regular season title, will head to the Fort Worth regional and will be joined by Dallas Baptist (DBU), Siena and host Texas Christian University (TCU).
The winner of that regional will face the winner of the San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) regional in the best 2 out of 3 Super Regional, with a chance to go to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
Sam Houston are familiar with both Dallas Baptist and TCU.
During the regular season, the Bearkats took the series from DBU while defeating the Horned Frogs in their first game of the Houston College Classic.
The Bearkats understand that it will not be easy, but they believe that the experience from the last two NCAA regionals will be a huge benefit in this year’s tournament.
Here are the schedule for the Fort Worth Regional:
Game 1: #3 Sam Houston vs. #2 Dallas Baptist – 2:30 p.m.
Game 2: #4 Siena vs. #1 TCU – 7 p.m.
SATURDAY, MAY 31
Game 3: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser – 2:30 p.m.
Game 4: Game 1 winner vs. Game 1 winner – 7 p.m.
SUNDAY, JUNE 1
Game 5: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 loser – 2:30 p.m.
Game 6: Regional Championship Game – 7 p.m.
MONDAY, JUNE 2 (If necessary)
Game 7: Second Regional Championship Game – 7 p.m.
To see the rest of the tournament field, click here
By Cheval John
Sam Houston State is not sharing the Southland Conference title with anyone after sweeping Texas A&M-Corpus Christi with a 9-1 win.
The capacity crowd of 870 at Don Sanders Stadium in Huntsville, Texas witnessed the Bearkats securing their 40th win of the regular season for the first time since 1987.
Sam Houston dominated A&M-Corpus Christi during the series as they outscored them 31-6.
The Islanders (19-11 SLC play, 30-25 overall) had struck first in the entire series, but couldn’t capitalized on their opportunities when it counted.
A&M-Corpus Christi again struck first in the top of the second when they took a 1-0 lead on a solo home run by right fielder Kyle Danford.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi was looking to tack on more runs in the top of the third inning.
Center fielder Zack Gibson led off with a walk, but was picked off at first by starting pitcher Sam Odom, who secured his 9th win of the season, for the first out.
That turned out to be key as third baseman Brett Burner hit a one out double to left field and advanced to third on a ground out by left fielder Jordan Lee.
Burner was left stranded at third as short stop Brandon Tierney grounded out to end the inning.
The Islanders had their opportunity to get out of the third inning with the lead in tack.
With two outs, Bearkat right fielder Travis Lee hit a chopper to Burner.
However, Burner threw the ball away that allowed Lee to reach second.
That set up center fielder Colt Atwood, who went 3 for 5 with three RBIs, to hit an RBI single to left-center-field that scored Lee from second base to knot it up at 1.
A&M-Corpus Christi was looking to take the lead in the top of the fifth when Gibson led off with a single.
However, he was thrown out trying to steal second by catcher Anthony Azar.
From there, Odom got Burner to ground out and Lee to fly out to end the inning.
The Islanders left 5 runners stranded in the game.
Sam Houston took the lead at 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Travis Lee issued a one out walk, stole second base, and advanced to third on ground out by Atwood.
Then designated hitter Hayden Simerly hit an RBI single that drove in Lee for the second run.
In the first two games, Sam Houston had a huge inning that gave them a huge cushion.
It happened again with a five run explosion in the bottom of the 6th inning to increase the lead to 7-1.
With one out, first baseman Ryan O’Hearn reached base on a throwing error by second baseman Cody Stephens.
After the Islanders got the second out, it seemed as if they were going to get out of the inning when short stop Corey Toups had flied out.
However, a delayed balk called on Islander starting pitcher Devin Skapura, kept the inning alive and moved O’Hearn to second base.
Toups issued a walk later in the at-bat that was followed by another walk by second baseman Shea Pierce to load the bases that set things up for left fielder Luke Plucheck.
Plucheck took advantage of his opportunity as he hit a two run single to left field that made it 4-1.
Travis Lee kept it going with an RBI single of his own and then Atwood hit a two run single to cap the inning.
Sam Houston added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to increase the lead to 9-1.
Relievers Andrew Godail retired the sided in the 8th and Ryan Brinley finished off the Islanders in the 9th inning that sealed the victory for the Bearkats.
Sam Houston now is focused on the SLC tournament which is set to begin on Wednesday in Conway, Arkansas on the University of Central Arkansas campus.
By Cheval John
Sam Houston State clinched their third consecutive Southland Conference regular season title after a 13-3 mercy-rule win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders in eight innings at Don Sanders Stadium in Huntsville, Texas.
The victory gave the Bearkats at least a share of the title and the No.1 seed in the SLC tournament which will be on May 21st-24th on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Arkansas.
Both teams battled for the first five and 2/3 innings.
A&M-Corpus Christi (19-10 conference play, 30-24 overall) struck the first blow in the top of the second inning when catcher Russell Vaughan hit a opposite field home run to left field for a 1-0 lead.
Sam Houston (21-8 conference play, 39-15 overall) responded swiftly as they scored 2 runs in the bottom of the second inning for a 2-1 lead.
First baseman Ryan O’Hearn, who went 3 for 3 with 3 RBIs, led off with a single, advanced to third on a single by third baseman Carter Burgess, and scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly by short stop Corey Toups.
A couple batters later, left fielder Luke Plucheck hit a RBI single up the middle that capped the inning.
The Islanders tied it up at 2 on a two out, RBI infield single by third baseman Brandon Tierney.
Sam Houston regain the lead at 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning before the Islanders knotted it up at 3 in the top of the sixth inning on a two out, RBI infield single by pinch hitter Dominic Lopez.
That set things up for the Bearkats to break the game wide open with a nine run explosion in the bottom of the 6th inning to make it 12-3.
Toups started the party with a one out, RBI single that made it 4-3.
A couple batters later, second baseman Shea Pierce drove in the fifth run on a sacrifice fly.
With the base loaded and two outs, center fielder Colt Atwood hit a two run, single to increase the lead to 7-3.
Designated hitter Hayden Simerly issued the walk to load the bases again that allowed catcher Anthony Azar, who started the inning with a single, to hit a two run single to make it 9-3.
Then O’Hearn delivered the dagger with a three-run opposite field home run to capped the inning.
Burgess sealed the victory in the bottom of the eighth inning when he hit an RBI single to make it 13-3 and put the mercy-rule in effect.
Though Sam Houston has the series at hand, they have an opportunity to sweep the Islanders today at 1 p.m. and keep the title to themselves.
By Cheval John
HUNTSVILLE,TEXAS-Sam Houston State understood that they had to bring their A-game if they wanted to set the tone against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the first game of the weekend series.
Both teams were tied for first place in the Southland Conference (SLC) and vying for a regular season title.
Sam Houston made sure that they were the only ones in first place after a 9-2 demolition of the Islanders.
With the win, the Bearkats are one game away from securing a share of the SLC title, which will be their third straight championship.
The Bearkats (20-8 SLC play, 38-15 overall) got offensive production from right fielder Travis Lee and short stop Corey Toups.
Lee went 3 for 3 with four RBIs while Toups was 3 for 3 from the plate with 3 RBIs.
Sam Houston got quality pitching from starter Tyler Eppler, who went eight strong innings and got his eight win of the season.
Eppler only gave up a run on 6 hits, struck out six batters and walked only two.
Corpus Christi (19-9 conference play, 30-23 overall) had their chances, but couldn’t capitalized as they left 11 runners on base.
The Islanders struck in the top of the third for a 1-0 lead.
A&M-Corpus Christi had runners in scoring position after a double from left fielder Jordan Lee advanced Garza, who reached on fielder’s choice.
Then Garza scored from third on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Brandon Tierney.
Sam Houston responded with a four run explosion in the bottom of the fourth inning to make it 4-1.
With two outs and runner on, Toups launched a two-run home run to left field.
That was just the beginning.
Second baseman Shea Pierce followed with a walk and left fielder Luke Plucheck issued a walk and advanced to second on the wild pitch by starting pitcher Matt Danton, who suffered the loss, that allowed Pierce to reach third.
Then, Lee hit a two-run single up the middle that capped the inning.
Sam Houston added three more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to increase the lead to 7-1 on a RBI single by third baseman Carter Burgess, a RBI double by Toups, and a wild pitch by reliever Lukas Hermanson which allowed Burgess to score from third.
The Bearkats tacked on two more for good measure in the bottom of the eighth inning to increase the lead to 9-1 on a two-run single by Lee.
Though the Islanders scored in the top of the ninth inning to make it 9-2 on a base-loaded walk by Lee, reliever Nolan Riggs came in and retired the next three batters to seal the victory.
Sam Houston will look to take the series and the SLC regular season title later today beginning at 6:30 p.m.