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Rock Around Round Rock, Pt. 3: Sam Houston State Preview

No.1 LSU looks to avoid another upset against Sam Houston State.

No.1 LSU will take on Sam Houston in what should be another tough matchup against a very dangerous team in the Karbach Round Rock Classic at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas.

LSU (5-1) hopes to rebound from its 12-4 upset loss against unranked Iowa, a team that Sam Houston beat 6-0 the previous night. LSU allowed three home runs in what was an uncharacteristically bad night on the mound for the Tigers.

Sam Houston (5-2), the only team that has not lost in the Round Rock Classic, hopes to pull off an upset over top-ranked LSU to cement themselves as one of the best mid-major teams in the country. The Bearkats won 6-0 over Iowa on Friday night and beat Kansas State by a score of 8-3 Saturday afternoon.

Sam Houston State is the favorite to win the WAC this year after losing in the WAC championship game the year before, costing them a chance to play in the postseason.

The only time Sam Houston faced off against LSU was in the Baton Rouge regional of the NCAA tournament on June 1, 2013. The Tigers beat the Bearkats 8-5 that night after trailing 5-1 after the first inning. Trailing 5-4 in the eighth inning, the Tigers took the lead after they scored four runs to account for the final margin.

PowerKats: Sam Houston is dangerous at the plate

Sam Houston has a very experienced lineup as they return seven key members from last year’s team. All seven of those returning members had 42 or more starts in 2022.

Although fifth-year senior left fielder Carlos Contreras has had a slow start to the season with a batting average of .167 as well as missing the first series of the season against Rhode Island due to injuries, he is still a dangerous out. The reigning WAC Player of the Year batted .400 with 14 homers and 89 RBIs, which placed him second nationally in runs batted in.

All-WAC junior first baseman Justin Wishkoski is another stud in the lineup for the Bearkats. Wishkoski is batting .368 with three doubles, one triple, and a RBI.

Right fielder Clayton Chadwick is another dangerous batter as well. Batting .360 on the year, Chadwick has already matched his home run total from last year with three dingers over the fence. Chadwick also has seven RBIs and a staggering slugging percentage of .800.

Another dangerous slugger to look out for is designated hitter Lane Brewster. Brewster is batting .310 on the year and he is tied with Chadwick in home runs with three.

Catcher Walker Janek has been one of the best hitting catchers in the country. Janek has batted .426 and has four doubles, two home runs and nine RBIs on the year. He leads his team in slugging percentage with .808 and has a .531 on-base percentage.

Second baseman Easton Loyd has been the Bearkats’ best hitter statistically this season. Loyd is batting .353 and has already completed a season cycle with a double, triple and a homer. Loyd leads his team in RBIs with 11.

Sam Houston’s pitching staff

Although Sam Houston has lost some quality members of the pitching staff from a year ago, with starter Matt Dillard transferring to Texas A&M and the graduation of reliever Lance Lusk, the Bearkats feel like they have more depth than they had the year before.

Sam Houston will more likely than not start Logan Hewitt, who was Sam Houston’s Sunday starter last week vs. Rhode Island. Hewitt pitched six innings and delivered six strikeouts, allowed four hits, walked one batter and allowed two earned runs in Sam Houston’s 25-2 victory over Rhode Island.

Right-handed reliever Chandler David is Sam Houston’s best arm coming out of the bullpen. In three appearances, the Incarnate Word transfer has a win-loss record of 2-0 next to his name and leads his team in strikeouts with 15. David has a 0.00 ERA.

It shouldn’t shock anyone if Sam Houston trots out left-handers Braden Davis or Marshall Wales as LSU has not hit well against left-handed pitchers this season. In three appearances, Davis has recorded a 0.00 ERA with seven strikeouts and a save on his statsheet. Wales has a 1.80 ERA and has four strikeouts on the year.

LSU Projected Starting Lineup

1B Jared Jones

2B Gavin Dugas

SS Jordan Thompson

3B Ben Nippolt

RF Paxton Kling

CF Dylan Crews

LF Brayden Jobert

C Brady Neal

DH Tommy White

Sam Houston Projected Starting Lineup

1B Tyler Davis

2B Easton Loyd

SS Myles Jefferson

3B Justin Wishkowski

LF Carlos Contreras

CF Joe Redfield

RF Clayton Chadwick

C Walker Janek

DH Lane Brewster

Projected Pitching Matchup

LSU – Fr. RHP Chase Shores (0-0, 2.70 ERA, 3.1 IP, 2 BB, 2 SO)

SHSU – R-So. RHP Logan Hewitt (1-0, 3.00 ERA, 6.0 IP, 1 BB, 6 SO)