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Bobcats defeat Panthers to advance to Sun Belt Championship

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After their 2-0 start in the Sun Belt Conference tournament, the Bobcats lost to Louisiana-Lafayette on Friday, 9-7.

With Louisiana-Lafayette advancing to the championship game, there was one final chance for Texas State to get to the championship game against the Ragin Cajuns. First they would have to go through the number four seed Georgia State Panthers.

Coming into this game, Randi Rupp, sophomore pitcher, looked to pick up her 29th win of the season, and third of the conference tournament.

Both teams were hitless until the third inning when Kimberlin Naivar, junior infielder and outfielder, singled to right field bringing in Breagan Hamilton, sophomore outfielder, to score from third base.

Bianca Prado, junior outfielder, scored on a sacrifice fly hit by Ariel Ortiz, sophomore shortstop. This gave Texas State a 2-0 lead over the Panthers.

The Bobcats held their 2-0 lead, and increased it to 4-0, on an Ortiz two-run homerun in the top of the fifth inning.

The Panthers finally scored in the bottom of the fifth inning, after failing for four innings, having left six runners on base already in the game. Kensey Caldwell, junior infielder, drove in Georgia State’s only run of the game on a double that scored Ivie Drake, sophomore catcher, in the bottom of the fifth.

The Bobcats would not score again until the top of the seventh inning, putting this game out of reach for the Panthers.

It started with a single from Naivar, which eventually led to a bases loaded situation, with the help of a Georgia State error. With the bases loaded and one out, Taylor Webb, sophomore utility player, drew a walk which scored Naivar to increase the Bobcats’ lead to 5-1.

Kendall Wiley, senior infielder, drew the second walk of the inning against the Panthers, scoring Ortiz from third. Jaelyn Young, sophomore catcher, drove in Corrina Liscano, junior infielder, with a single to left field, bringing the Bobcats lead over the Panthers to 7-1.

Prado put the cherry on top for Texas State, as she drove in two with her double to left field and making the score now 9-1. This gave Texas State its biggest lead of the night.

Rupp picked up her 29th win, as she went six and two-thirds innings, giving up seven hits, one earned run, one walk and striking out four.

Quincy Charleston, junior pitcher, closed the game out of the pin, picking up the final out for the Bobcats to send them to play the Ragin Cajuns for the Sun Belt Championship.

This win for the Bobcats was a collective team effort, as there were four Bobcats that had multi-hit games.

Ortiz came up big for Texas State, as she went two-for-four, with two hits, one of which was a home run. She also picked up three RBIs and scored two runs.

The Bobcats will play the Ragin Cajuns tomorrow at 1 p.m. for the Sun Belt Championship.