The Texas State men’s baseball team secured their sweep over the Bulldogs of Alabama A&M after winning both games of the Sunday doubleheader at Bobcat Ballpark.
The Bobcats were first on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning after sophomore Jaylen Hubbard’s single brought in two runs.
Alabama A&M responded quickly with a run in the following inning to bring the game within one.
Texas State was held scoreless in innings three and four, but produced one run in the bottom of the fifth.
A combination of high-level pitching and prudent defense from the Bobcats led to six straight scoreless innings for the Bulldogs.
In the bottom of the seventh Texas State registered five runs.
The first run came after sophomore first baseman Ryan Newman singled to right field. Then after a combination of walks and stolen bases, junior Dylan Paul rocked a shot down the left-field line to advance one runner to third and bring in two more.
Alabama A&M managed to produce three hits and two runs in the top of the ninth, but the hole they had dug themselves proved too deep and Texas State won 8-3.
Wes Engle pitched a career high seven innings, only allowed three hits, one run and recorded a career high seven strikeouts.
“I thought Wes Engle was really, really good – he had some really dominant stuff today.” Head baseball coach Ty Harrington said. “That’s his best pitching performance of his career here.”
The pitchers for both teams came to play in game two of the doubleheader.
Both Texas State and Alabama A&M failed to produce a single hit for the first four innings of play.
The Bobcats then made up for their lack of production early with a five hit, six run bottom of the fifth. Singles from sophomore Jacob Almendarez, junior Teddy Hoffman and Hubbard all brought in Bobcat runs.
Texas State continued to dominate both defensively and offensively with two runs in the sixth, one in the seventh and one in the eighth – all while maintaining a shutout.
Pitcher Nicholas Fraze earned his second win a row while recording a career high seven innings pitched and a career low one run allowed.
“I also thought this was [Fraze] best outing of the year,” Harrington said. “I thought he threw the ball in there, he didn’t create any bad innings for himself, didn’t put himself in any bad spots and we played well on defense behind both of our pitchers today.”
The game ended in the bottom of the eighth when the mercy rule went into effect after the Bobcats went up 10-0.
Harrington said when his defense is putting up zeros, it gives the Bobcats breathing room to be able to insert creativity on offense and not have to be one-dimensional because they’re chasing runs.
“We were able to use some things we haven’t had the fortune of using,” Harrington said. “We used the bunt game, we did use different parts of our offense – when you’re chasing runs you don’t always get to do that.”
Key offensive contributors for today’s doubleheader include: Hubbard (3-7) and four RBI’s, Newman (3-8) with three RBI’s, and Hoffman (3-9) with a double and a RBI.
This is the second straight weekend sweep for the Bobcats who have now won six of their last seven to improve to 9-7 on the season.
The toughest stretch of Texas State’s schedule begins Wednesday with a midweek-tilt Wednesday at 6 p.m. against the Rice Owls at Bobcat Ballpark.