The Texas State baseball team won the Sun Belt Conference series over the University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks two games to one after a 7-4 victory in the deciding game Saturday at Bobcat Ballpark.
The Warhawks were first to tally a run after UL Monroe senior center fielder Cade Stone hit a lead-off home run on the first pitch of the game.
“If you’ve watched enough of our games, you know solo home runs are not going to beat us,” Texas State pitching coach Jeremy Fikac said. “We’re aggressive first pitch, and he got right back in there and gave us a 1-2-3 and for our offense to punch back, that was a key part in the game.”
This punch back from the Bobcat offense makes this the 10th straight Sun Belt Conference game with Texas State runs in the first inning.
Back-to-back RBIs from junior right fielder Teddy Hoffman and sophomore third baseman Jaylen Hubbard gave the Bobcats a 2-1 edge early.
Hoffman has now recorded a base hit in 31 of 37 games, and finished the game 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Fikac said the ability for the Bobcats to jump out to the early lead is a testament to their hard work with Texas State’s hitting coach Steven Trout, but admits there is still work to do.
“What we got get better is in those middle innings – we’re good early, we’re good late, but we’ve got to get our kids somehow to buy in to winning those middle innings,” Fikac said. “But coming out of the gate, it’s a great sign when you can punch first. I know boxing matches are scheduled for 12 rounds, but some guys get knocked out in the first or the third.”
The runs continued to pile on in the second frame for the Bobcats after sophomore second baseman Jonathan Ortega’s two-RBI single was immediately followed by an RBI single by Hoffman.
After two scoreless innings, UL Monroe’s senior right fielder Tyler Cox’s hit a two-run long bomb to left-center in the top of the fourth to cut the Warhawks deficit to two.
Texas State’s offense responded yet again after Hubbard’s second RBI single of the game extended the Bobcat lead to 6-3 in the bottom of the fifth. The third baseman finished this series with seven RBIs.
Both teams earned one run each in the eighth, but freshman Broc Bosse forced a 1-2-3 to end the game and earn himself the save. Bosse pitched 2.0 innings, allowed one run on two hits, struck out one and walked zero.
Freshman pitcher Nicholas Fraze (4-1) earned the win after he allowed only three hits, three earned runs, walked four and struck out five in seven innings pitched.