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Courtesy: GoBearkats.com
First Place Kats Host Nicholls State
Courtesy: GoBearkats.com
Release: 05/02/2013
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Just three weeks remain in the Southland Conference baseball season as the Bearkats, who are tied for first, prepare to host Nicholls State for a three-game weekend series. First pitch for the series opener is scheduled for Friday at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday’s game is Finals Relief Day at Don Sanders Stadium and SHSU Residence Life will be giving away food vouchers and t-shirts to students. First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 4 p.m.

Sam Houston (28-17, 12-6) has won six straight games after a midweek win over Texas-San Antonio and a sweep of Northwestern State.

Nicholls (23-22, 6-12) lost two-of-three to Oral Roberts last weekend. The Colonels split a doubleheader Saturday but fell 8-1 in the series-decider Sunday.

“We have three more series left and each of the teams is right in the hunt and fighting really hard,” said Bearkat head coach David Pierce. “We’re right in the mix and tied for first so everything the rest of the way is in our hands.”

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS:
Friday: LHP Andrew Godail (4-2, 3.53 ERA) vs. RHP Mike Suk (1-5, 4.67 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Tyler Eppler (3-2, 2.81 ERA) vs. RHP Kory Delange (6-3, 3.20 ERA)
Sunday: LHP Caleb Smith (5-4, 3.25 ERA) vs. RHP Brandon Jackson (2-0, 2.57 ERA)

Third baseman Kevin Miller has been a singles machine, with just six of his 61 total hits going for extra bases. But the senior has had a recent explosion of power. Miller hit the first regular season homerun of his career against UTSA Tuesday. He also had a double and a triple last weekend at Northwestern State.

Miller is batting .365 for the season and he’s hitting .425 in his last 10 games. He leads the team in hits and runs scored (33).

Designated hitter Hayden Simerly and left fielder Luke Plucheck have brought power to the SHSU lineup this season. Simerly has a team-high eight homers, which is second in the Southland while Plucheck has six. Plucheck also leads the team with 35 RBI.

Tyler Eppler made his first career weekend start last Saturday and pitched a solid five innings allowing just two runs (one earned) on six hits. The sophomore earned another opportunity and will start this Saturday.

Reliever Jason Simms picked up his seventh save of the season. He has a 3.25 ERA in 21 appearances with 33 strikeouts to 16 walks. Michael Burchett has pitched in 18 games and has recorded four saves.

Nicholls’ leading hitter is center fielder and leadoff hitter Matt Richard. The senior is batting .331 with a team-high 56 hits, 16 stolen bases and 34 runs scored. Left fielder Keith Cormier is the team’s leading run producer with 32 RBI and a .313 batting average.

Starter Mike Suk is in the top ten in the conference with 62 strikeouts this season. Suk holds a 4.67 ERA in 11 starts for the Colonels. Closer Jordan McCoy has eight saves and a 3.30 ERA.

The series will continue Saturday at 4 p.m. with the series finale Sunday at 1 p.m.

This weekend is Ticket Redemption Weekend for Bearkat Baseball Season Ticket Holders. If you are a season ticket holder you can redeem any unused tickets for a free GA ticket at the Don Sanders Box Office on the day of the game.

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