HUNTSVILLE – Nationally-ranked Sam Houston State topped the list among Southland teams four players announced to the preseason all-Southland Conference squad according to an announcement on Tuesday by league officials.
The Bearkats, who open the 2018 quest for a third straight berth in the NCAA Tournament February 16th with a three-game home series against Kent State, had one player, Clayton Harp, named to the first team.
Three Sam Houston players were touted among the 12-member second-team preseason honorees including third baseman Andrew Fregia, outfielder Hunter Hearn and pitcher Hayden Wesneski.
The accolades are the most recent in what has been an outpouring of preseason praise for the squad. Individually, Fregia was highly- outed as one of the top MLB college prospects in the nation by D1Baseball.com and Perfect Game.
Harp was named to the first team after being named to the all-SLC third team at the end of 2017. The junior was a key cog for the Bearkats during their 2017 NCAA Super Regional run as he put up a .289 average on the season and drove in 50 runs while sending five over the fence.
Fregia, the only automatic bid for the Kats, looks to continue his Bearkat career after a very solid 2017 campaign where he was a fixture for the Kats on the left side of the infield as one of three Kats who started all 67 games.
The junior from Liberty, who came in behind only reigning Southland Conference player of the year Taylor Schwaner of Southeastern Louisiana among third basemen, was no slouch for the Kats last year as he put up a .302 average, was second on the squad with 84 hits and led the team with seven homers and was second to Harp with 38 runs batted in.
Hearn will look to help the Kats build off a terrific postseason run as the final preseason all-conference selection. As a sophomore Hearn was top five in every major Bearkat offensive category. He posted terrific numbers including a .326 average, a .447 slugging percentage and .395 on base percentage.
Wesneski was huge for the Bearkats in his true freshman campaign in 2017, earning freshman all-America honors by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper in addition to being named the Southland Conference Freshman of the Year. His 10 wins was tied for the most nationally among freshmen and was tops among all pitchers in the Southland. He made 13 starts on the season, posting a 3.93 ERA and was 3-0 on the year against nationally-ranked opponents.
The Kats return 24 and four players who started 50+ games from the first ever squad in Bearkat history to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals. Sam Houston will also have plenty of experience on the mound this year as five pitchers with 50+ innings of experience last season will be tossing the ball in orange and white again this year.
Season tickets, individual game seats are on sale by calling (936) 294-1729 or by visiting GoBearkats.com. Sam Houston posted a 25-9 home record a season ago in front of an average of over 1,000 spectators.
The Bearkats, who enter the season winning ten of their last eleven home tilts, will play 18 games against teams who made the 2017 NCAA tournament, including nine at Don Sanders Stadium.