Bearkat baseball takes on New Orleans for opening SLC series

Sam Houston State baseball hosts Southland Conference foe University of New Orleans this weekend in hopes of breaking their four-game losing streak.

This is the first SLC series for the Bearkats this season.

“We got a little bump in the road, and we’ll come through it,” SHSU head coach Matt Deggs said. “This team is a work in process. We’re going to get better, and our better days are in front of us.”

The Bearkats were swept in their last weekend series against Louisiana-Monroe and dropped Tuesday’s game against McNeese State 5-2. In the four-game losing streak, 10 turnovers have been made by the Kats, including seven in their last two games.

“We’ve got to be able to play better defense,” Deggs said. “To state the obvious, we need to just play better fundamental baseball. We’re not necessarily playing an opponent, we’re playing ourselves right now.”

UNO visits Don Sanders Stadium riding a two-game winning streak with a 6-7 record. The Privateers went 3-0 in the MLB Urban Youth Invitational against teams including Alcorn State, Southern and Grambling.

Looking at the two teams on paper offensively, the Kats have six players batting better than .300 compared to the three of the Privateers. The Kats are batting .281 as a team while UNO bats.267. The Kats have been weak at the plate in their losing streak as they have only scored eight runs in the four games.

This weekend’s series begins SLC play for both teams. The Kats can overcome their non-conference losses with a strong performance in the SLC. The Kats are looking for a fourth-straight SLC regular season championship in their 30 SLC games.

“It’s a 30-game war,” Deggs said. “It’s a fresh start for us.”

The weekend series has given SHSU some problems in the early part of the season. Besides the opening series against Wichita State, the Kats have only won one weekend game. The Kats are 3-2 at home this season and has had good outcomes against the Privateers in the past. SHSU won all three games against UNO in the 2014 season.

“I think this group will continue to grind and fight and find a way to overcome this, and when we do, we’ll be a better ball club,” Deggs said.

Although a 5-8 record is not a record most teams would be proud of, the Kats are not in panic mode just yet.

“It’s better to go through this now than in May and June,” Deggs said. “I think our better days are in front of us.”

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. to open up SLC play for the 2015 season. The second game of the series Saturday is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., and the series finale will be Sunday at 1 p.m.

“I believe in this ball club, this ball club plays hard,” Deggs said. “We’ve got to continue to work to play better baseball.”

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