'Jacks battle Bearkats in leadoff game of 2017 Southland Conference Tournament

'Jacks battle Bearkats in leadoff game of 2017 Southland Conference Tournament

SFA Athletics

NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)

Pitching Matchup
RHP Tony Grabowske (5-3, 3.48 ERA) vs. Heath Donica (8-1, 1.82 ERA)

Series History
Record vs. Sam Houston State | 27-50 (.351)
Streak | SFA won two
In Nacogdoches | 13-25 (.342)
Streak | SFA won two
In Huntsville | 13-23 (.361)
Streak | SFA won one
Last Game | at SFA 12, SHSU 2 (4/15/17)
SFA Runs/Per Game | 192/6.9
Sam Houston State Runs/Per Game | 142/5.1
Last Sam Houston State Win | April 13, 2017 • 3-2
Last SFA Win | April 15, 2017 • 12-2
Cardenas vs. Sam Houston State | 13-17 (.433)

Leadoff Hits
• Following a three-game sweep of Southland Conference foe Houston Baptist at Jaycees Field last weekend, the Stephen F. Austin baseball team heads to Sugar Land, Texas, as the sixth-seed in the 2017 Southland Conference Tournament where it will face third-seeded Sam Houston State in the opening game of the league postseason play at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday from Constellation Field.

• Each game of the Southland Conference Tournament will be streamed live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. Randy McIlvoy and Chris Mycoskie will have the call of SFA’s battle with Sam Houston State.

• The ‘Jacks racked up a 29-26 record in regular season play which included a mark of 17-13 in Southland Conference action to put them in a tie for fifth place with Central Arkansas in the final regular season edition of the league standings. SFA’s 17 Southland Conference wins are the most for the program since it amassed 20 league triumphs in 2011 and it marks the first time since 2013 that the squad posted an above-.500 record in Southland Conference play.

• Of the 10 Southland Conference series the ‘Jacks played in 2017, they won six of them. Those six league series wins are the most for SFA since they totaled the same number in the 2013 campaign. 

Senior infielder Nick Ramos heads into the Southland Conference Tournament as one of the team’s hottest hitters. The Plano, Texas, product earned Southland Conference Hitter of the Week accolades Sunday following a three-game stretch where he upped his season batting average by 28 points by going 9-for-12 with seven runs scored in SFA’s three-game sweep of Houston Baptist that clinched a spot on the Southland Conference Tournament. He is now one of three SFA regulars batting above .300 (.314/.400/.373) and ranks second on the team in both hits (64) and runs scored (42). 

• Game one of the Southland Conference Tournament will feature five members of the 2016 Southland Conference All-Tournament Team. As juniors in 2016, both Ramos and Conner Fikes earned spots on the team while the Bearkats’ Robie Rojas and Lance Miles were placed on the squad as well. Sam Houston State pitcher Heath Donica was named the Southland Conference Tournament MVP.

Tournament Time
The ‘Jacks are making their seventh all-time appearance in the Southland Conference Tournament and their second in as many seasons. SFA made the cut for postseason play in 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016 in addition to entering the fray as the sixth seed this season. All-time, the ‘Jacks are 11-14 in Southland Conference Tournament action and are facing Sam Houston State for the fourth time in postseason play. Below is SFA’s record against all opponents in Southland Conference Tournament action.
Central Arkansas | 2-1
Lamar | 2-0
McNeese | 1-0
Oral Roberts* | 0-1
Sam Houston State | 1-2
Southeastern Louisiana | 1-1
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi | 1-1
Texas State* | 2-5
UT-Arlington* | 0-2
UTSA* | 1-1
* | no longer a member of the Southland Conference

On Deck
Regardless of their result against the Bearkats in the opening game of the Southland Conference Tournament, the ‘Jacks’ postseason run will continue at Constellation Field. A win against the Bearkats would keep SFA in the winners bracket where they would face the victor of the second-seeded Southeastern Louisiana/seventh-seeded New Orleans matchup at 4:00 p.m. Thursday afternoon. If SFA drops its tilt against Sam Houston State, it will face the loser of the Southeastern Louisiana/New Orleans game at 9:00 a.m. Thursday morning in an elimination game.