HUNTSVILLE – Entering his first season at the helm of the Sam Houston State softball team, head coach Garrett Valis released the Bearkats’ 2019 schedule on Saturday, Dec. 1. The Bearkats’ regular-season campaign features 18 home games and matchups with nine 2018 NCAA tournament teams.
“I am excited to announce our 2019 schedule,” Valis said. “It will test us early on and prepare us for a very competitive Southland Conference season. The challenge of our schedule will be a lot of fun and February cannot get here soon enough.”
The Kats will begin the 2019 season in Houston, Texas, at the Houston Invitational, where the team will face three 2018 NCAA tournament teams and a strong contender from the Big Ten Conference.
Sam Houston is set to open the season on Saturday, Feb. 9 with a doubleheader against Kentucky and Oklahoma State. The Kats will return the next day (Feb. 10) to face Illinois and the hosting Houston Cougars.
Valis and the Kats will make their home debut at Bearkat Softball Complex on Wednesday, Feb. 13, with a 6:30 p.m. matchup against Texas Southern.
After the mid-week contest, the team is set to compete at the Getterman Classic in Waco, Texas. The Kats will open the tournament against UT Arlington and Baylor on Friday, Feb. 15, and will face Southern Mississippi on Saturday (Feb. 16) before advancing to the semifinal and championship rounds.
The Kats will travel to San Marcos, Texas, for a mid-week contest at Texas State – another NCAA Tournament team – on Wednesday, Feb. 20.
Returning to the tournament scene, the squad will travel over to Austin, Texas, to face a trio of 2018 NCAA Tournament contenders – Ole Miss, Texas and Tulsa – at the Texas Invitational on Feb. 22-24.
Following its stint in Austin, Sam Houston is set to close out preseason tournament play in Memphis, Tenn., where they will face four teams – UT Martin, Loyola-Chicago, Mississippi Valley State and host Memphis – at the Blues City Classic on Mar. 1-3.
The Bearkats will take part in five other non-conference games during the course of the regular season. Sam Houston will pay visits to Texas A&M (Mar. 13), Texas Southern (Mar. 26) and Houston (Apr. 30) and is set to host North Texas (Apr. 3) and UT Arlington (Apr. 9).
Southland Conference play begins at home against Northwestern State on Mar. 8-9. Sam Houston will also host league series against Lamar (Mar. 22-23), Houston Baptist (Apr. 5-6), Abilene Christian (Apr. 12-13) and will close out its home schedule against Stephen F. Austin on May 3-4.
Valis and his Kats will hit the road for SLC series at Central Arkansas (Mar. 15-16), Nicholls (Mar. 29-30), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Apr. 19-20) and Incarnate Word (Apr. 26-27). The 2019 Southland Conference Tournament, hosted by Northwestern State, is set to take place on May 7-10 in Natchitoches, La.
“Being able to compete against some of the best programs in our area, and nationally, on a yearly basis is great for our athletes,” Valis added, “This schedule demonstrates the direction of the program and its composition shows confidence in our athletes to play in such competitive events and arenas.”
2019 Softball season tickets include all 18 events at the Bearkat Softball Complex. Reserved chairback seating is in Section 3 of the Bearkat Softball Complex and is $75 for the season. General admission seating is in the bleacher sections 1, 2, 4, and 5. Season tickets are available and priced at $40.