COLLEGE STATION – Sam Houston State has seen its share of shortcomings of late. Those have not included major midweek tests.
The Bearkats look for their sixth-straight midweek win, a feat that has not been accomplished since 2000, when the squad visits No. 22 Texas A&M on Tuesday night. The 131st all-time matchup between the two programs can be seen through the SEC Network Plus via ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
A season ago, Sam Houston knocked off No. 2 Texas A&M, 5-0, blanking the Aggies for the first time since the team was shut out on May 20, 2014, in the SEC Tournament. The Bearkats will stick to the same formula, sending right-hander Dakota Mills to the mound, who held the Aggies to six hits in 6 2-3 innings while fanning four in last season's victory.
RHP Dakota Mills, SHSU (5-3, 4.50 ERA) vs. RHP Turner Larkins, A&M (1-1, 2.45 era)
Sam Houston is looking to bounce back after being swept at the hands of Houston Baptist a weekend ago. The series setback put the Bearkats out of contention to repeat as Southland Conference regular season championships, although the team has locked up a seventh-straight trip to the league tournament.
CENTER FIELDER BRYCE JOHNSON ON THE CUSP OF HISTORY
Sam Houston junior Bryce Johnson is one hit shy of moving into a three-way tie for 10th in Sam Houston career history for the category. The junior, who currently has 217 hits, would become the only Bearkat among the top-10 list with fewer than four years played.
Since arriving on campus for the 2015 season, Johnson has started 162 and played in 169 of Sam Houston's 175 games during that time span. Johnson is off to a tear in 2017, already posting a season-best for triples (4) and RBIs (32).
INSIDE THE MATCHUP VS. TEXAS A&M
Tuesday's meeting will be the 131st all-time between Sam Houston and Texas A&M with the Aggies holding an 88-40-2 advantage all-time. Despite that, the Bearkats have won three of the last five including a 5-0 victory a season ago in College Station.
Tuesday will mark the fifth-straight meeting between the squads in College Station. This season marks the 10th consecutive year the teams will play each other at least once. Sam Houston's series with Texas A&M has featured the third-most games against any non-conference opponent, trailing only Houston (163) and Rice (133).
Sam Houston head coach Matt Deggs served as associate head coach at Texas A&M under Rob Childress from 2006-2011. While in College Station, Deggs coached third base, oversaw, and ran the Aggie offense in addition to overseeing team personnel.
Deggs helped Texas A&M to a program-record five-straight NCAA Tournament appearances including three Super Regionals and one College World Series appearance.
Head coach Matt Deggs on facing Texas A&M…
“Rob does an incredible job. Him and Will, Justin and Hutch have an incredible program. They are one of the most consistent teams in the country over the last 10 or 11 years. It will be a major test for us on the road in a great environment. We'll have our hands full. I think we're ready to play. We had a great practice today. Based off the way we bounced around and the energy we had, you couldn't tell we're going through anything. I think, as a coach, that's the number one thing you're looking for. These boys just love to play. They have a passion. We'll get this thing rolling and tomorrow will be a great opportunity for that.”
Head coach Matt Deggs on defeating the Aggies a season ago…
“I think anytime you win and win a big game on the road like that, obviously, it's going to give you some confidence. You know that it's possible. We're going to have to go over there, pitch it, defend it and get timely hits. That's the formula versus anybody. I think it will be a great ballgame and great atmosphere and a chance for us to make some noise.”
Head coach Matt Deggs on the importance of finishing the regular season on a strong note…
“We're just working to get better and address some of our deficiencies. We still feel like this ballclub has a lot of games left in them and a chance to get better and better. The name of the game at this level is to get hot at the right time. Like it or not, most years you're going to have to win the tournament and we're in that situation right now. That's our focus moving forward is playing good baseball this week and have a chance to be healthy and go win it. I think our guys are very confident when it comes to winning tournaments.”