#39 Sam Houston State Baseball 2019 Preview

Sam Houston State Bearkats
Overall Rank: #39
Conference Rank: #1 Southland
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Coach Matt Deggs led Sam Houston State to their second Southland regular season title in his four seasons leading the program. However, the Bearkats slipped during the conference tournament and were not able to make the NCAA Tournament despite their 39 wins. This time around Sam Houston State again has the talent to win the Southland, but there is more experience on the team now too and that should potentially help give the team an at-large berth should they again falter in the conference tournament. A tougher non-conference schedule will help too.
2018: 39-20, 24-6
2018 Postseason: None
Coach: Matt Deggs
Key Departed Players:
Andrew Fregia, IF, .328 BA, 11HR, 49 RBI, 11 SB
Blake Chisolm, IF, .321 BA, 8 HR, 33 RBI
Dakota Mills, P, 3.04 ERA, 3-2 W/L, 53.1 IP, 74 SO, 15 SV
Key Returning Players:
Clayton Harp, OF, .323 BA, 5 HR, 29 RBI, 13 SB
Hunter Hearn, IF, .294 BA, 9 HR, 39 RBI
Jordan Cannon, C, .259 BA, 6 HR, 31 RBI
Seth Ballew, P, 3.00 ERA, 6-1 W/L, 81.0 IP, 57 SO
Hayden Wesneski, 3.50 ERA, 7-3 W/L, 97.2 IP, 67 SO
Nick Mikolajchak, P, 4.19 ERA, 6-5 W/L, 73.0 IP, 54 SO
The pitching staff should be able to get this team back to the tournament. Hayden Wesneski started a team high 16 games in 2018, tallying a 7-3 record with a 3.50 ERA. Seth Ballew and Nick Mikolajchak were also regulars in the starting rotation. And then there are players like Landon Ausley and Kyle Backhus. Ausley looked very good in limited action as a freshman and now could take a big step forward. Backhus has had control issues recently, but he too is a talented pitcher who has the potential to make a big impact in 2019. With so many options on the mound, Sam Houston State should be in great shape there. It would then come down to the offense that has a few leaders to build around. Clayton Harp, Hunter Hearn and Jordan Cannon are all experienced seniors who Coach Deggs can build a lineup around. Harp is the most consistent hitter, batting .323 last season with five homeruns and 29 RBIs. Hearn has the most power and belted nine homeruns with 39 RBIs during his junior campaign. If their younger players in the lineup can be consistent and productive, Sam Houston State should not only win the Southland, but potentially do some damage in the tournament as well.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament