With the beginning of the new year, a new season of college baseball follows closely behind. For Texas State, the upcoming season is another opportunity to improve on the season prior.
For past several seasons, the Bobcats have hovered around a .500 record. The 2017 season saw the team continue the trend, posting a record of 29-30.
Although they finished with a losing record, the Bobcats were able to earn a spot in the Sun Belt Conference Championship Tournament.
Overcoming the odds, the Bobcats downed both Little Rock, in the play-in round, and #1 seed Coastal Carolina, in the first round. The team’s run ended with an 11-5 loss to Georgia Southern in the semifinals, just one game short of the conference championship game.
The Bobcats open the 2018 season Feb. 16, with a three-game series against Oklahoma State at Bobcat Ballpark. Texas State was 1-2 against the Cowboys in 2017, the one victory being a 12-11 thriller.
Sun Belt Conference play starts March 16 with a three-game home series against the Appalachian State Mountaineers. Texas State outscored the Mountaineers 15-7 in 2017, and swept them 3-0 for the season.
Like the softball team, the baseball team is set to take on the Texas Longhorns multiple times this season. The 2017 season saw the Bobcats go 1-2 against the Longhorns. The highlight of the three match-ups was the first meeting, an 11-10 extra innings victory for the Bobcats at home.
The Bobcats will look to improve their performance in both away games and conference play in 2018. In 2017, the Bobcats were 7-17 in away games and 13-17 in conference play, a significant downgrade from their 20-13 home record.
Returning for the Bobcats this season, are junior infielders Jonathan Ortega, Jaylen Hubbard and Derek Scheible, senior outfielder. These three could be the keys to putting together a potent offense.
During the 2017 campaign, Ortega led the team in runs with 54, was second on the team in hits with 81 in 239 at-bats, second in batting average at .339 and second in RBIs with 45. The criminal justice major is set to be one of the primary offensive weapons for the Bobcats.
Hubbard followed closely behind Ortega as one of the 2017 season’s key players, posting a total of 67 hits and 43 RBIs, both good for third overall among the team. The Missouri City native also added 39 runs and boasted a .296 batting average.
Scheible was close behind Hubbard, totaling 65 hits in 235 plate appearances. Scheible finished third on the team in total runs with 51 and added 32 RBIs.
For the team to make an impact in the Sun Belt Conference and improve its record, it is clear that the trio of Ortega, Hubbard and Scheible must be effective this season.