#35 Sam Houston State Baseball 2017 Preview

Sam Houston State Bearkats
Overall Rank: #35
Conference Rank: #1 Southland
Sam Houston State went back to the NCAA Tournament in 2016, following a one year absence. The Bearkats did not have much success in the Lafayette Regional, but this is a program that is ready to be a consistent participant and an occasional force in the tournament. SHSU does not always boast a great pitching staff, but this group is solid. Closer Greg Belton is gone, but Riley Gossett and Heath Donica anchor a strong starting rotation.
2016: 40-22, 24-6
2016 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Matt Deggs
Key Departed Players:
Greg Belton, P, 3.00 ERA, 60.0 IP, 62 SO, 13 SV
Zach Smith, IF, .288 BA, 7 HR, 43 RBI
Key Returning Players:
Riley Gossett, P, 2.64 ERA, 95.1 IP, 62 SO
Heath Donica, P, 3.42 ERA, 113.0 IP, 96 SO
Bryce Johnson, OF, .345 BA, 2 HR, 30 RBI
Lance Miles, IF, .308 BA, 1 HR, 26 RBI
Riley McKnight, UTL, .298 BA, 0 HR, 15 RBI
Robie Rojas, C, .286 BA, 3 HR, 31 RBI
Andrew Fregia, IF, .274 BA, 8 HR, 40 RBI
Taylor Beene, IF, .256 BA, 2 HR, 29 RBI
The offense should be very good in 2017 as well. With Zach Smith the only key departure, there are high hopes that Sam Houston State can be one of the most potent offenses in the Southland Conference. Bryce Johnson was one of the most consistent hitters in the conference, batting .345 as a sophomore. Lance Miles and Riley McKnight will get on base consistently as well and both hit at least .298 last season. Robie Rojas and Andrew Fregia will provide much of the power for the Bearkats offense. There will be some tough competition in the Southland Conference, but this is a group that has the talent to win another conference crown following their impressive 24-6 record in the conference a year ago.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament