Six former Sam Houston baseball greats have been named to the Southland Conference’s 2000s All-Decade Team. Isa Garcia, Seth Hammock, Dustin Martin, Luke Prihoda, Braeden Riley and Bobby Verbick join a total of 56 student-athletes that makeup the 2000s all-decade team.
The opening of Don Sanders Stadium in 2006 is closely tied to one of the most successful periods in Sam Houston State baseball history. Five of the six Bearkats to make the all-decade squad played at “The Don” and four were a part of teams that went to three consecutive NCAA Regionals from 2007-2009.
Martin, who finished his career playing at Don Sanders Stadium, manned the outfield for the Kats from 2003 to 2006. He hit .389 his senior season, the eighth highest season batting average in school history. His career average of .337 also lands him in the Bearkat record book.
Drafted in the 26th round of the 2006 MLB draft by the New York Mets, Martin has also spent time in the Minnesota Twins organization. He has most recently signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks organization.
Prihoda was the National Collegiate Baseball Writer’s Stopper of the Year in 2007. He put up one of the most dominant seasons in Bearkat history. His 18 saves and 1.61 ERA that year are the best ever by a Bearkat. A first-team All-American, his 23 career saves are also the most in school history.
He helped lead the Bearkats to their first NCAA Regional appearance since 1996. The Kats fell to host Mississippi in the regional final. Prihoda was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 24th round in 2007.
Another first-team All-American, Verbick was a monster at the plate in 2006 and 2007. His 28 career homers ranks fourth all-time at Sam Houston. In 2007, Verbick hit 14 homers and drove in 81 runs, the second-most RBI by Bearkat.
Drafted in the 30th round by the San Diego Padres, Verbick’s career .357 batting average is ninth all-time at Sam Houston. Some of his single game highlights are blasting three home runs against Lamar in 2008 and driving in eight runs against Central Arkansas in 2007. He also crushed a grand slam in the Southland Tournament Championship game in 2008.
Riley led the nation in total hits as a junior in 2009 with 111, a Sam Houston and Southland Conference record. His 291 career hits is the most in Bearkat history. A three-time All-Conference member, he’s the only Kat ever to have a pair of five-hit games in his career.
Hammock was the Southland batting average champion in 2008 with a .380 average. The third baseman strung together a 17-game hit streak from 2008-2009. His career .333 average also puts him in the Bearkat record book.
Garcia played just one season for Sam Houston State but was named the Southland Newcomer of the Year in 2005. That season he hit .339 with 15 homers and 42 runs scored. He was a member of the all-southland team as well.