A former five-time Southland Conference champion hosts the four-straight SLC champion Bearkats this weekend in Louisiana.
The 5-4 Sam Houston State Bearkats are coming off a 10-3 win over Prairie View A&M on Tuesday in which the Kats scored 10 unanswered runs over the Panthers. The Warhawks of Louisiana-Monroe are 3-3 and have not played since Sunday due to their Tuesday and Wednesday games being postponed because of inclement weather. Most recently ULM defeated SHSU rival Stephen F. Austin State 2-1 in a three-game series.
In the Bearkats nine games so far in the 2015 season, both the starting rotation along with the bullpen have played key roles in the Kats’ success. SHSU has a team ERA of 3.05 compared to their opponents ERA of 5.00. Opposing hitters are only hitting .245 against the pitching crew of the Kats. The Warhawks pitching crew has an ERA of 3.83 as opposing teams bat .257 against them.
“We are built around our starting pitching,” SHSU head coach Matt Deggs said. “[We’ll] take it one game at a time.”
On the offensive side of things, SHSU has quite the edge over their weekend opponent. The Kats’ offense has a .322 batting average and recorded 104 hits in their nine games. Senior outfielders Colt Atwood and Jake MacWilliam lead the Kats with a .407 batting average and junior Spence Rahm is third on the team with a .389 batting average. Rahm leads the team with 12 RBIs and a .694 slugging percentage.
The Warhawks on the other hand have a team batting average of .286 and only 56 hits in their six games. Warhawks’ redshirt junior Josh Faciane leads the team with a .429 batting average and teammate junior Kodie Tidwell bats a .400 average. Senior Keelin Rasch leads the team with 10 RBIs and has a .696 slugging percentage.
Along with SHSU and Deggs, ULM also has a relatively new head coach. Warhawks head coach Bruce Peddie is in his first full season after taking the reigns of the team midway through the 2014 season.
“[The goal is] continuing to be the same team every single day, and that’s what I have seen so far through nine games,” Deggs said.
Friday’s first pitch is set for 6 p.m. in Monroe, Louisiana with senior left-handed pitcher Andrew Godail taking the mound for the series opener against the Warhawks. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Sam Odom takes the mound Saturday for the Kats at 6 p.m. In the three-game series finale, junior left-handed pitcher Logan Boyd is given the nod for the series finale against ULM at 1 p.m.