Texas State Baseball is gearing up for a jam-packed opening weekend as they host Nevada, Utah and #24 ranked overall Missouri State at the Texas State Tournament.
At the end of January, the 2019 Preseason Baseball All-Sun Belt Conference team selections were released with no Texas State players on the list. Last year’s All-Sun Belt Conference team included three Bobcats. One of which, redshirt senior Jaylen Hubbard, will return to play his final season at Texas State.
“I’m not gonna put any names out there, but I feel I’m deserving of the preseason first team,” Hubbard said. “But hey, numbers will talk at the end of the year.”
The preseason selections are voted on and selected by the league’s 12 head coaches. Head coach Ty Harrington said he believes Hubbard and others like Nicholas Fraze, should have made the list.
“Those things are what they are sometimes but guessing how somethings gonna end before knowing how the season unfolds is hard,” Harrington said. “Through their reputation and through what they’ve done so far, yeah, I thought they should’ve been on it.”
With the loss of key veterans like infielders Jonathan Ortega and Luke Sherley, Harrington said he expects his newest recruits will step up to the plate and take on bigger roles within the team.
“If you go around and look, we had to replace second base, we had to replace JO (Ortega), so there are two (junior college) guys battling for that,” Harrington said. “Connor Anderson is coming and trying to play third where Hubby’s (Hubbard) going to play too but he can also DH (defensive hit). Hunter McMahon has been one of our leading guys on the mound, I would say.”
Hubbard expressed his faith in his teams’ offensive abilities and said he’s spent the offseason focusing on one skill he hopes transfers onto his teammates for years to come.
“We’ve got some big bats and some younger kids. . . We’ll be pretty deep in the lineup this year, so I’m not too concerned about our offensive output this season,” Hubbard said.
Bobcat ace Nicholas Fraze has high expectations for his junior year, winning conference and pitcher of the year. The right-handed pitcher said he is confident the team chemistry will allow them to achieve a conference title and more.
“On the field the team’s unity is great and off the field, it’s even better,” Fraze said. “I think we’ve all become close as friends in the locker room playing Xbox and such.”
Harrington said he looks forward to another fun season as he knows he has the innumerable support of students and fans.
“Come out, it’s fun, it’s good stuff. It’s a great environment, it always has been, over the years our students have come out and our fan base has been pretty supportive of what we’ve done,” Harrington said. “We love when the students come out and get loud, it always makes it a home-field advantage for us.”
The 2018 season saw the Bobcats finish second in the West Division with a record of 16-14 in conference play and 30-28-1 overall. They were picked to finish second in the West Division of the 2019 Sun Belt Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll tailing the divisional favorites Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns.
The Texas State Tournament will kick off Feb. 15 at 12 p.m., when Missouri State takes on Nevada. The Bobcats take the diamond later in the day, hosting Utah at 6 p.m. Sun Belt Conference play begins Mar. 15, when the Bobcats face South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama.