With playoffs still in sight, the Bearkats are in a “do-or-die” situation when they host the University of Texas-San Antonio in a three game series this weekend.
The weekend series will begin with a doubleheader Saturday, where Sam Houston hopes to come out on top to remain in the hunt for the sixth playoff spot.
The UTSA Roadrunners currently hold the sixth spot, and with a 7-11 Southland Conference record, are only two games ahead of Sam Houston.
Only two games separate the last five teams, so every team is still in contention.
“It’s a thing where we may or may not need a little help from some of the other teams in the conference,” assistant coach Phillip Ghutzman said Wednesday. “We feel like if we put wins up on the board, we have as good of a shot as anybody of getting in the tournament.”
The Bearkats are currently on a four-game losing streak, but Texas-San Antonio has also found it difficult to win games, going 3-and-5 in its last eight games, leaving the Roadrunners vulnerable for any other team to take hold of the spot.
The Bearkats, however, have to overcome their four-game slide. After beating Rice last week, they were swept by Southeastern Louisiana, then lost 9-3 to Texas A&M. The Bearkats will need to snap their losing streak, as they can no longer afford to lose many more games.
Sam Houston will be depending heavily on its offense, mainly Brandon Foster, Lou Ferrell and Andrew Kasparek. Kasparek currently leads the Bearkats with a .350 batting average. Ferrell leads the conference in triples with six and is tied for second in runs batted in with 46.
Foster is one of the Bearkats’ most reliable base runners. The senior from Athens is currently fifth in the conference with a .465 on base percentage.
“Every time we’ve been successful, Brandon Foster has been all over the bases,” Ghutzman said. “Lou Ferrell and Andy Kasparek have been driving in runs, as well as some others.”
The Bearkats have had some great outings from the mound in the past couple of weeks, and they hope they can get the same against the Roadrunners. Phillip Gougler will pitch in the first game Saturday, with Zach Adkisson picking up the second. Jordan Tata will start in the third game Sunday.
“They just need to continue their consistency,” Ghutzman said. “They’ve been pretty consistent the last three or four weeks, and I’ve felt that they’ve done what they’ve needed to do to give us a chance to win a ballgame.”
Adkisson was named the Southland Conference “Player of the Week” two weeks ago, and is currently third in the conference with a 2.56 earned run average. The junior from Wimberly has also held opposing batters to a mere .228 batting average.
The Bearkats have proven in the past that they have the ability to take the needed games.
Ghutzman said he is confident that if the Bearkats play to their full potential this weekend, they have the ability to take the series and put themselves in contention for a playoff spot.
“We have too look at our mistakes and learn from the experience we had last week and realize that we don’t want to have to experience that again,” Ghutzman said. “If we do get the opportunity to be ahead late in the game, we just need to keep it in our minds to take it to them and not just wait for them to make outs.
The weekend series will be held at Holleman Field in Huntsville. Saturday’s doubleheader will begin at noon and Sunday’s game will begin at 1 p.m.