Jan. 29, 2014
FRISCO - In any other year, Sam Bumpers likely would have earned All-Southland First Team honors for his play at shortstop last season, but due to the presence of an MLB first round draft pick in Hunter Dozier at the same position, he was relegated to the second team. Such is not the case this time around as the 2013 Southland Newcomer of the Year grabbed a spot on the conference's annual preseason team.
Bumpers, who is coming off a year where he hit .339 and slugged .487 with 19 doubles and 40 runs batted in. The Bourbonnais, Ill., native collected more hits and more total bases in 2013 than any other returning Southland player. Also, his slick fielding at shortstop helped the Cardinals put together the best defensive team in the conference, turning more double plays than any other team and boasting of the league's fewest errors and best fielding percentage.
Joining Bumpers on the preseason honor roll is outfielder Jude Vidrine. The Nederland native earned a spot on the second team after putting up an on-base percentage of .444 and crossing home plate 53 times. Both marks lead all conference returners. A .294 hitter at the plate, Vidrine doubled 15 times and knocked in 26 runs.
As a team, the Cards were tied for second with Southeastern Louisiana in the coaches' poll, earning a first-place vote apiece. The sports information directors were a little cooler to LU's chances, slotting them at sixth. Sam Houston State, winners of the last two Southland titles, are the overwhelming favorites in both polls, earning 10 first-place votes from the coaches and eight from the SIDs.
Lamar, which finished fifth last season with a 39-20 record, will open its season on February 14 vs. Marist at Vincent-Beck Stadium. For information regarding season ticket and single game ticket sales, please call the Lamar Ticket Office at (409) 880-1715 or click here.