Games 18-20
Friday, March 17 – Sunday, March 19 • Huntsville, Texas • Don Sanders Stadium

A&M-Corpus Christi (6-11, 0-0 SLC) vs. Sam Houston State (12-5, 3-0 SLC) • Game Notes
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STARTING PITCHERS
Friday – RHP Heath Donica (SHSU) vs. RHP Devin Skapura (AMCC)

Saturday – LHP Seth Ballew (SHSU) vs. RHP Chris Cooper (AMCC)
Sunday – RHP Hayden Wesneski ( SHSU) vs. RHP Cole Carter (AMCC)

HUNTSVILLE – Sam Houston State opens an eight-game homestand on Friday, hosting A&M-Corpus Christi at 6:30 p.m. in the second Southland Conference series of the season.

The Bearkats look to take their second league set of the season after sweeping Lamar a weekend ago at Don Sanders Stadium. Sam Houston hit .309 in the series while the pitching staff held the Cardinals to a .216 average and posted a 3.00 ERA.

On Tuesday, Sam Houston used a big eighth inning to complete the comeback in a 6-2 win at Rice. Clayton Harp provided a two-out, three-run double in the frame, breaking a 2-2 tie to back a strong performance on the mound from starter Dakota Mills and a scoreless 3 2-3 innings from the bullpen.

STRINGING TOGETHER HISTORIC SUCCESS
The Bearkats have won 14-straight Southland Conference three-game home series, a streak that dates to April 2014. Sam Houston has also won five-straight series vs. A&M-Corpus Christi with the last series loss coming in a three-game Islanders sweep at The Don from May 19-21, 2011.

After being held to single-digit hit totals during their first six games of the season, the Bearkats have averaged 9.5 hits and 6.8 runs over their last 11 games, going 10-1 during that stretch.

Sam Houston pitching dropped its ERA below three at 2.98 with Tuesday’s win at Rice. Over the last 11 games, spanning 99 innings, the staff has posted a 2.82 ERA, limiting opponents to a .238 batting average.

SAM HOUSTON IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
The Bearkats are second nationally in sacrifice bunts (24), 10th in walks allowed per nine innings (2.45), 17th in sacrifice flies (10), 19th in stolen bases (29), 24th in stolen bases per game (1.71), 23rd in in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.19), 24th in WHIP (1.14) and 32nd in ERA (2.98).

Individually, Heath Donica is third in strikeouts (42), 24th in ERA (0.60) and 32nd in WHIP (0.73). Taylor Beene ranks third nationally in sacrifice bunts (6) while Lance Miles is eighth (5). Sunday starter Hayden Wesneski is tied for the national lead as one of 16 players with four victories while closer Nick Mikolajchak is 16th in saves (4). Blake Chisolm ranks sixth in the country in on base percentage (.583) and 17th in slugging (.806).

INSIDE THE MATCHUP VS. A&M-CORPUS CHRISTI
Sam Houston and A&M-Corpus Christi meet for the 49th time on Friday with the Bearkats owning a 26-22 advantage since the squads began playing in 2002.

The Bearkats have won seven of the last 10 in the series and own a 15-10 record at home. The team is 14-9 against the Islanders at Don Sanders Stadium, including a pair of wins in the 2008 Southland Conference Tournament, hosted at the venue.

The two programs have played at least a three-game series against one another each season since 2002. Sam Houston took 2-of-3 a season ago in Corpus, coming in the third-to-final league series. Bearkat pitching dominated the series, posting a 0.69 ERA in the set, limiting the Islanders to a .227 average.

QUOTABLES:
Head coach Matt Deggs on facing A&M-Corpus Christi…
“This is a really good league. Any time you step out, you better be ready to go or you’ll get beat. We understand that we have a target on our back anytime we play. We have to come in ready to rock. I say it every week but the fight is not against the other team. The game is amongst ourselves and how well we can play the game of baseball.”

Head coach Matt Deggs on production on the mound…
“The biggest thing with pitching is that it allows you to settle into the game, which you have seen. We’ve played 17 games and what you’ve seen is almost every time out, our pitching gives us an opportunity to score. If we don’t score, they match a zero. If you look at our runs scored by inning, they’re all coming in the fourth, fifth and sixth inning. That’s the second time through the lineup. In the meantime, our pitching and defense allows us to settle into the game.”

Head coach Matt Deggs on the home-field advantage…
“We have a definitive edge at home. It’s an awesome atmosphere here. I think it’s the best in the conference and one of the best in the state. We get to sleep in our own beds and stay in our routine. We take a lot of pride in mastering our routine.”

Head coach Matt Deggs on the offensive improvement…
“What we have done a better job at is that we’re drawing more walks and we’re striking out much less. Our sole function inside the pack offense is to reach base. Once you do that, you’ve got to execute. We’ve gone back to getting the big two-out knock. That has been our calling card the last two years. That takes a lot of heart and guts. A lot of offenses will make two quick outs, grab their gloves and wait on the third guy. That’s not who we are. We believe we will score no matter what the situation.”