For the first time in four years, we have an Arizona Wildcats postseason baseball game to watch on Friday. The Wildcats will begin their quest for their fifth National Championship against the Sam Houston State Bearkats in the Lafayette Regional:
(2) Arizona vs. (3) Sam Houston State -- 11 AM PT
(1) Louisiana-Lafayette vs. (4) Princeton -- 5 PM PT
All games are on Watch ESPN and the ESPN app
If you're interested in chatting about the game, I'll be down in the comments section with updates and whatever else.
Sam Houston State preview
In his second year as head coach, Matt Deggs has his Bearkats in the postseason. Deggs is a former assistant at Louisiana-Lafayette, so he'll obviously know how the park plays.
SHSU is slated to start Heath Donica on the mound. The junior college transfer has a record of 10-3, going the distance in four of his 15 starts. What's interesting about Donica's stats is that he's given up just 39 earned runs this year, but has an additional 12 unearned on there. If Arizona can put the pressure on SHSU's defense, maybe they'll be able to manufacture some runs.
The Bearkats have one guy hitting above .300 this year, and he's well above that mark. Bryce Johnson is a .347 hitter this year, and is the only player to play and start in all 61 games. He also has an on-base percentage above .400, and has 20 stolen bases this year. Stopping him will be the key to keeping SHSU off the board.
With an RPI of 34, there's no reason to take the Bearkats lightly in this one. They did get swept by Louisiana-Lafayette to start the year, and went 0-2 against Rice (Arizona was 2-1 against the Owls). Against a couple of common opponents, Sam Houston State took two-of-three from both Northwestern State and Lamar (Arizona beat NSU, lost to Lamar). The Bearkats' RPI got a huge bump at the very end of the year though, when they went to Texas A&M and beat the No. 4 National Seed Aggies.
Again, come join us down in the comments as Arizona looks to stay in the winner's bracket while the rain pours down on the artificial turf.