Softball swings into season with early tournament

The Sam Houston State University Bearkats softball team notched one win in four games played over the weekend at the Bobcat Classic in San Marcos. Their one victory came over Portland State on Saturday when the Kats won the second game of a double header 6-4 over the Vikings.

During the weekend, the Kats were outscored by just eight runs over the course of four low-scoring games. SHSU only scored 10 runs over the weekend, six of which came in the win against PSU. Despite not being able to get their offense going, SHSU was outscored by an average of just three runs per game.

Head coach Bob Brock, who holds the record for most overall wins (408) and conference wins (227) in program history, talked about the performance from his squad during the weekend in San Marcos.

“I was excited that we were opening up against Texas State,” Brock said. “Texas State is ranked. They have done a pretty good job. They have an All-American pitcher [junior right-handed pitcher Randi Rupp] and all of that kind of stuff. I thought we played pretty well against them. She [Rupp] shut us down. We had a bunch of strikeouts and some things like that. But overall, 1-3 is not what it looks like. I thought we did a lot better.”

One key player from the weekend was freshman outfielder Sheridan Fisher, who over the weekend hit 5-16 (.313) as well as scoring three of the Bearkats’ 10 runs during the weekend and driving in another pair of runs.

Coach Brock talked about Fisher’s skill level and contributions to the lineup.

“I think Sheridan Fisher is about as good of a player as there is around right now,” Brock said. “To be a freshman and come in and do that against that talent, I’ve been doing this a long time and you wouldn’t see me do this very often, which is to take a freshman and tell her that she is the leadoff batter. She bats left-handed, she’s got everything. Speed, she’s got some pop, she has a knack of putting the ball in play and she can also knock in some runs. She had an excellent weekend and showed why we recruited her.”

Meanwhile, SHSU will be hosting the Bearkat Softball Classic presented by Holiday Inn Express and University Hotel this weekend at the Bearkat Softball Complex Friday through Sunday, in which they will play five games that include Seton Hall, Wichita State, Washington and Northern Colorado twice.

Coach Brock talked about the importance of being able to have an early season tournament on the schedule.

“We might play thirteen or fourteen games early in the year and they are all on the road,” Brock said. “We are going to tournaments and to have a chance to play at home is really a big thing. Not only that, but we’ve been trying to get a tournament here. So, I think it does a lot to help us in the long run.”

This will be the first time since the 2009 season where SHSU hosted a tournament, which was then called the Domino’s Pizza/SHSU Classic. In that tournament, the Bearkats swept the two-day event going 4-0 while outscoring opponents by an average of 7.75 runs per game and only allowing one run to score that weekend. In that 2009 season, the Bearkats finished 28-26 overall and 15-14 in Southland Conference play.

Fisher, who will be playing in her first ever live game at the Bearkat Softball Complex, talked about playing at home before a lengthy road trip to start the year.

“I think it’s going to help us out a lot, especially with nerves,” Fisher said. “So, it will help us prepare for games on the road and seeing a bunch of really good teams is nice. To see good competition, that’s what we need. I think it will be a really good start for us, especially since it’s at home.”

The Bearkats will take on Seton hall in the first home game of the season with first pitch at 4:45 p.m. Friday at the Bearkat Softball Complex in game one of a double-header Friday night to open their weekend tournament.

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