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Softball prepares for potential fourth consecutive winning season

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Softball team congratulating each other
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The start of the 2018 softball season is right around the corner and the Bobcats are preparing to put together their fourth consecutive winning season in the last five years.

The softball team posted a 42-17 record during its 2017 season which is the third most wins in school history. The Bobcats scored 18-8 against Sun Belt Conference opponents and finished with the second seed in the conference.

Despite a regular season campaign filled with success, the Bobcats were unable to close out the postseason, losing to Louisiana in the Sun Belt Conference championship and to Texas in the College Station Regional.

As is the case with college athletics, several key players for the Bobcats are now seniors in their final year with the team.

Texas State’s ace in the circle, senior right-hand pitcher Randi Rupp, is among those in their final year as a Bobcat. Rupp dominated the 2017 season earning the Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year and being named to the 2017 First Team All-Sun Belt Conference.

Rupp enters the 2018 season with 82 wins and 953 career strikeouts, both ranked second on Texas State’s all-time list.

Senior infielder Ariel Ortiz, is also in her final year as a Bobcat and will play a key role in boosting the Bobcat offense after totaling 15 home runs and 37 RBIs in 2017.Ortiz enters the spring season as Texas State’s all-time leader in home runs with 33 and sits at second place in both career RBI’s and a career batting average.

With a total of eight freshmen this season, the team will rely on the leadership of Rupp, Ortiz and other veteran players to continue the success the team has seen in recent years.

The Bobcats open their spring season hosting the 2018 Bobcat Classic and are set to face the Sam Houston Bearkats in their first game of the season Feb. 8.

Texas State’s first series in the Sun Belt Conference is an away series and play begins March 10, a double-header against the Georgia State Panthers. The Bobcats were 1-2 against the Panthers in the 2017 regular season before defeating them in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Championship.

The Bobcats will host their first home conference series against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers March 17. Texas State was 2-0 against the Chanticleers.

Of the non-conference games on Texas State’s schedule, its two matchups against the Texas Longhorns stand out amongst the rest. The Bobcats faced Texas four times in 2017, going 2-0 in their regular season battles before meeting up again twice in the College Station Regional. Texas State heads to Austin for its first matchup March 21 before hosting the Longhorns April 11, for the Pink Out Breast Cancer game.

Following their second game against the Longhorns later in the season, the Bobcats will close out the 2018 season on a four series stretch of 12 games against Sun Belt Conference rivals Louisiana, University of Louisiana Monroe, Troy and the University of Texas Arlington. The Bobcats were a total 7-5 against those four opponents.

Should the Bobcats continue the success we’ve seen in recent years, fans will see this team go far in the postseason, perhaps atoning for last year’s bitter end.

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