Hard Swing

Former Ricebird Clayton Harp follows through with his swing after hitting a pitch earlier in the season.


Your last chance to see former Ricebird Clayton Harp play for the Sam Houston Bearkats in the Southland Conference tournament, will be this week in Sugar Land at Constellation Field.

The Bearkats are the number one seed going into the tournament, but it took a win in their final game to secure that spot.

Against Northwestern State, Harp had two hits (one double) and scored a run. 

The Bearkats ended up winning 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth inning giving them the Southland title for the fourth year in a row. 

“It was a lot of fun. That was actually our senior night. For me, it was my last game, including 12 other (seniors), so being able to win it like that in walk-off fashion and to win the championship was a pretty cool feeling to have,” Harp said.

As a freshman, the former Ricebird won the conference championship and every year since Harp and the Bearkats have walked away with the Southland title.

“Winning that first one, it was like alright, we don’t want to lose it,” Harp said. “I think that kind of helped propel us and get these other ones.”

The Bearkats ended the regular season with a 31-23 record and 20-10 in the conference. 

During the year, the Bearkats picked up some notable wins over Rice, Baylor and Nebraska.

“We’ve been playing pretty good,” Harp said. “We’ve had our ups and downs. We’ve lost some games we probably shouldn’t have lost, but in the end, we always find a way to win.”

In conference play, the Bearkats only lost one series.

The number one seeded Bearkats play today at 4 p.m. against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi the eighth-seeded team. All games will be broadcast on ESPN+.

Depending on how the Bearkats do, they’ll play again on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 

Last year, the Bearkats were upset and lost to Houston Baptist, but the two seasons prior they won the Southland Conference Tournament.

“We didn’t really have a good outing in the tournament last year. Coming in this year we got that washed out in the fall,” Harp said. “We got that work in that we might have missed last year that might have caused us to not do as well. I think our guys are good to go. We’ve got the leadership, the team and guys are ready to step up and go win this tournament.”

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