The Texas State baseball team tied the series after defeating the University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks 9-5 Friday at Bobcat Ballpark.
After walking the first two batters, Bobcats starting sophomore pitcher Wes Engle redeemed himself with a strikeout to hold the Warhawks scoreless.
Texas State then put together a five hit, three run bottom of the first to take an early 3-0 advantage.
Scoring early has been a recent theme for this team.
The Bobcats have scored in the first frame for eight straight Sun Belt Conference games. However, Texas State has only won two of the seven games before tonight.
After putting two runners on base and allowing a run on a bases-loaded walk, Engle recovered once-again and ended the inning with his second K of the night.
However, Engle was yanked in the following frame after two-wild pitches led to UL Monroe’s second run. The sophomore allowed two earned runs, three hits and walked five batters in 3.1 innings pitched.
In the bottom of the fifth, junior right fielder Teddy Hoffman went yard with a solo shot over the left-field wall providing the Bobcats a 6-3 advantage. Hoffman is now fifth in the country in total bases, and second in the Sun Belt Conference in home runs hit.
With two runners on and two outs, sophomore third baseman Jaylen Hubbard rifled a shot over the Warhawks center fielder’s head for an inside-the-park home run to extend the lead to 9-3. This is Hubbard’s second home run.
“When Jaylen’s locked in, he’s a very dangerous and exciting hitter for sure,” Texas State head baseball coach Ty Harrington said.
The Warhawks looked poise for their second ninth inning comeback in a row with runs in the top of the eighth and ninth, but the hole they dug themselves proved too deep.
Senior pitcher Joe Powell said that these moments help build character of a team, and great teams are the type of teams that can persevere through adversity.
“We couldn’t let the conclusion of the game be taken out of our hands,” Powell said. “The tone is set on the mound, so I try to stay calm – I know our infield is extremely passionate, they really want to win and they were obviously really upset after last night – but I try to be that calm cool collected center and say, ‘Hey guys, we got this – we still got a four-run lead, no big deal, let’s just get through this adversity and it’s going to make us better in the long run.’”
Powell earned his second career victory after allowing two earned runs on six hits in 5.2 innings pitched.
After the game Harrington gave the utmost praise to his senior pitcher’s performance on the mound.
“The key to the game was Joe Powell and the job he did,” Harrington said. “He was out of gas in the bottom of the ninth – just pitching his heart out – but the bottom line is when we had to have somebody step up early in the game he was able to do that for us.”
Key offensive contributors include Hoffman (3-5) three RBI’s and a home run. Hubbard (2-3) with three RBI’s, and sophomore Jacob Almendarez (1-2) with one run scored.
With this win the Bobcats tie the series at one a piece with the deciding game Saturday at 1:00 p.m.