Quick Five is a University Star segment in which Sports Editor Quixem Ramirez and Matt Gurevitz tackle five quick-hitting questions regarding the Texas State football team.
Was this season a disappointment?
QR: Yes. The Texas State baseball team finished below .500 for the first time since the 2005-06 season, ending a streak that lasted eight seasons. The win-loss record does not tell the whole story, though. This was a team that should have exceeded the .500 threshold, but the talent could not materialize into tangible results.
MG: Yes. Texas State had high expectations coming into the season. They were predicted to place second in the conference and Lucas Humpal was voted the Sun Belt Preseason Pitcher of the Year. The team finished sixth in the conference and Humpal finished 5-7 with a 5.28 earned run average. There were plenty of positives to take away from the season, so I would not consider it a disaster, but not reaching the high expectations can only be taken as a disappointment.
What was the best moment of the season?
QR: The 7-6 win over Houston on Feb. 25 set the tone for the rest of the season. Just a week before, Assistant Coach Jeremy Fikac said the team hit “rock bottom” following a 10-0 home loss to Sam Houston State. Texas State’s upset of Houston, who made the NCAA tournament as a No. 1 seed, eased the mounting pressure on the team.
MG: Granger Studdard’s walk-off home run vs Baylor. The offense was looking for a big hit and Studdard showed he can provide that. The team went on to sweep Baylor in the series.
Do you think Assistant Coach Jeremy Fikac did a good job replacing Coach Ty Harrington?
QR: Stepping into Harrington’s shoes is not easy. He’s the winningest baseball coach in Texas State history for a reason. Fikac, despite the team’s struggles, stepped into a difficult situation and made the most of what he was given.
MG: Fikac did all he could to replace Harrington on short notice. The team didn’t win like they wanted, but there were no glaring mistakes made by Fikac.
What was the biggest weakness this season?
QR: Starting pitching. Humpal regressed from last season. Cory Geisler did not pitch deep into games. Scott Grist was inconsistent. Montana Parsons induced too many fly balls, stretching the responsibilities of his defender to its limit. The bullpen did not fare well either, but the starting pitching often put them in a difficult position. It is a trickle-down effect that begins and ends with a reliable starting rotation.
MG: The bullpen was a huge weakness for the team. Multiple games were lost in the eighth inning, like the one against Texas at home, the season opener against UC-Davis and a crucial matchup down the stretch against Arkansas State. Pasquale Mazzoccoli, junior pitcher, led the bullpen in earned run average at 4.02. Blake Whitter, senior pitcher, was given closing duties for the team and he finished the season with a 5.62 earned run average and a 3-3 record.
What should we expect from the team next season?
QR: More wins.
MG: We can expect to see a better record next season. The team was young this time around. Freshmen like Luke Sherley, Derek Scheible, Jared Huber and Teddy Hoffman have all gained experience and they will be more seasoned next year. The team will lose impact players to graduation like Scott Grist, David Paiz and Cedric Vallieres, but the team has players ready to take their spots.