SUGAR LAND, Texas – An entrant in the Southland Conference Tournament field for the first time since 2013, the Stephen F. Austin baseball team begins its latest postseason run as the number-eight seed and will do battle with number-one seed and regular season Southland Conference champion Sam Houston State in the third game of the SLC Tournament on Wednesday afternoon in Sugar Land, Texas.
First pitch of the 'Jacks first postseason game in three seasons has been scheduled for 4:00 p.m. at Constellation Field. Whichever team emerges as the victor will remain in the winners bracket and face the winner of the Lamar/Central Arkansas tilt at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday night. The squad that loses will drop down into the lower portion of the double-elimination bracket to face the loser of the Lamar/Central Arkansas matchup at noon on Thursday.
By closing out the 2016 regular season with a record of 27-28 and an SLC mark of 14-16, the 'Jacks were one of three teams that finishes in a tie for the seventh and eighth place spots in the league standings. Of those three teams, Nicholls was the squad that saw the curtain come down on its season while New Orleans latched on to the seventh-seed by virtue of winning a pair of games against Sam Houston State in the regular season. SFA took one of three from the league champs in regular season play to pencil itself in as the eighth seed.
#12 Patrick Ledet, SFA (Jr., LHP, 6-1, 4.12 ERA) vs. #18 Heath Donica, SHSU (Jr., RHP, 8-3, 3.40 ERA)
Scouting the Bearkats • Roster • Schedule • Statistics
Head Coach | Matt Deggs (Northwood University, '94) • Second Season • 68-47
Synopsis | Still flying high following the program's fourth Southland Conference regular season title since 2005, the Bearkats locked up the title with a victory over Houston Baptist in their regular season finale last Sunday. Sam Houston State finished two games ahead of Southeastern Louisiana for the league's regular season crown and is eyeing a return trip to the championship game of the Southland Conference Tournament in order to avenge a 6-0 loss to Houston Baptist in that game a season ago. The first step of that journey will begin with the Bearkats sending junior Heath Donica to the hill against SFA. An All-SLC Second Team pick, Donica posted a 6-2 mark against SLC opposition in 2016, but had his troubles with SFA by giving up a season-high 10 hits to the Lumberjacks in his regular season matchup with them. Although Bryce Johnson represents the biggest bat in the Bearkats' lineup with a .367/.424/.447 line, Zach Smith has driven in a team-high 38 runs while slugging a .475 (15 doubles, seven hone runs). The power hitting ways of Austin Fregia are another weapon at Sam Houston State's disposal as his 33 RBI have come mostly by way of his team-best 28 extra base hits and a slugging percentage of .531. Once into the Bearkats' bullpen, Greg Belton has been a shutdown master, registering 12 saves as well as a 5-1 record while fanning 50 batters and allowing only 14 walks in 45.2 innings of work.