HUNTSVILLE – Sam Houston State’s climb in the college baseball world is not limited to its historic success last spring. That was well reflected by the national writers at D1Baseball.com on Tuesday.
The Bearkats checked in at No. 32 on the publication’s list of the top 100 programs. According to the website, programs are ranked based on an established tradition of winning over the last decade while the ultimate goal is to “identify the programs in the best shape right now, with an eye toward the next five to 10 years.”
Since 2007, Sam Houston is one of five programs in the state of Texas to have produced 400-plus wins, eight-plus NCAA Tournament appearances and have 20 or more players selected in the MLB Draft. The Bearkats are joined by Rice, TCU, Texas and Texas A&M.
”Generally you don’t get too caught up in stuff like this but I truly believe coming from an organization like D1Baseball that works incredibly hard with what they do that it’s a huge honor to be recognized by a group that has such a grasp on the game,” head coach Matt Deggs said. “There’s over 300 programs nationally and for us to be recognized as number 32 means a great deal.”
The Kats made Southland Conference history in 2017 becoming the league’s first program to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals. Sam Houston did so on the backs of three-straight elimination game victories at the NCAA Lubbock Regional including a pair against host Texas Tech.
For their efforts, the Bearkats finished the season nationally ranked in all six major polls including as high as No. 14 by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. The NCAA Tournament appearance was the fifth in six years for a Sam Houston program steeped in tradition.
“This recognition isn’t just about us,” Deggs said. “It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work. Not only do I have an incredible support staff, there have been a ton of incredible players and coaches who have come through here to help us get us here to this point. We’re proud to be able to carry on that torch.”
The bi-annual ranking saw Sam Houston jump 42 spots from its previous ranking of No. 74 in 2015. The list, which began counting down by 10 from 100, has the Kats ahead of Southern Miss (33), Maryland (34) and Oklahoma (35). Southland opponent Southeastern Louisiana was the only other league member on the list at No. 55.
“It’s a compilation of a lot of people’s hard work,” Deggs said. “I’ve said it since day one, this university has incredible support from the top on down. We have great vision, facilities and a wonderful location in regards to the Houston area and the talent pool. We have been very fortunate to find our kind of guys who are selfless and come from selfless families.”