Texas State softball won its second-consecutive Southland Conference Tournament Championship Sunday, as Chandler Hall, senior pitcher, tossed her third-career no-hitter.
The Bobcats beat Sam Houston State 3-0 in the final tournament game after defeating McNeese State in the semi-finals and UTSA in the first round. Texas State advances to the College Station Regional, and will face Louisiana State University in the first match.
“I heard (the players) saying ‘we’re not done yet,’” Coach Ricci Woodard said. “I think that’s the difference in mentality from last year to this year. Last year, they were satisfied to win the tournament. This team wants to go farther.”
Hall, who was named tournament Most Valuable Player for the third time in her career, allowed one run and four hits in 14 total innings, while batting 4-for-9 with three RBI, including a two-run home run.
Earlier this season, on March 23, Texas State softball beat Southeastern Louisiana 3-0 in a seemingly unordinary conference contest. Chandler Hall pitched a complete game shutout and knocked in all the runs with a three-run homer.
This kind of game is what Bobcat fans have come to expect from Hall. It has become typical. Bobcat faithful, more specifically Texas State softball fans, are spoiled.
Hall was named Southland Conference Player and Pitcher of the Year for the 2012 season, giving the senior a few more accolades to add to her already astonishing career. She spent her freshman year dominating the SLC with 25 victories and a 1.17 ERA, winning the first of three Pitcher of the Year awards. She was named Freshman of the Year and SLC tournament Most Valuable Player.
Texas State is once again changing athletic conferences.
University officials held a press conference Wednesday morning to announce all Bobcat sports will begin play in the Sun Belt, effective July 1, 2013. The move gives Texas State its third athletic conference membership in three years.
The announcement comes a year and a half after Texas State declared its move to the Western Athletic Conference. The Bobcats, which are currently a member of the Southland Conference, will play the 2012-13 season in the WAC, before moving to the Sun Belt for 2013-14.
Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson said Texas State is “a perfect fit” as the league is expected to lose North Texas and Florida International to Conference-USA.
“While the Sun Belt may lose (some) of its members in the coming days, Texas State is a tremendous replacement for the Sun Belt,” he said. “Our goal is to regionalize.”
Courtney Harris, freshman third baseman, hit a walk-off two-run double in the tenth inning of game one, as Bobcat softball swept a double-header against rival UTSA.
Texas State carried that momentum into game two, winning 6-3 despite a late start time and four errors. The Bobcats finished their home schedule for this year with a 17-1 record and remain a perfect 10-0 in conference games.
“The whole time I was just thinking, ‘Chandler, run,’” Harris said. “I knew (the UTSA pitcher) would throw me another one outside to the gap, and I just hit it to the right side.”
Senior Chandler Hall remains the only Southland Conference pitcher to remain undefeated in league play (9-0) this season. In her final home start, Hall pitched 10 innings, tied a career-high 13 strikeouts and allowed one unearned run on seven hits.
The Associated Student Government passed a resolution Monday night that would start a pilot program allowing the sale of beer during football games for the 2013 season.
Texas State’s current athletic league, the Southland Conference, prohibits the sale of alcohol at sporting events. However, Bobcat athletics is moving to the Western Athletic Conference this summer, which does allow the sale of alcohol.
The resolution calls for at least one-fourth of the profit collected by alcohol sales to be allocated to a safe-ride program, similar to the Students with Alternative Transportation (SWAT) program, which was disbanded in the fall of 2009.
The resolution states funds should be given to provide for additional police officers at games, and for a communication system allowing fans to report “any incidents that may occur.”
Texas State softball is now riding a four-game winning streak after sweeping conference foe McNeese State at home last weekend.
The Bobcats won 8-7 and 4-0 in the two-game set to remain a perfect 8-0 in Southland Conference home games this year.
The team started the series with a grand slam by Courtney Harris, freshman third baseman, in the first inning of game one. The Bobcats went on to score eight runs in the first three frames.
“Before the game, we talked about how this game was going to be full of pressure,” Harris said. “That (first inning) was a very good scenario for pressure. (The McNeese pitcher) laid it over the plate.”
Texas State looked to run-rule McNeese until the Cowgirls’ Katie Roux hit a solo home run in the fifth inning. The game then started to unravel for the Bobcats, as McNeese posted six runs in the sixth inning to bring the game within one run.
Texas State softball celebrated its annual Strikeout Cancer day by sweeping a double-header against Houston Baptist University on Wednesday.
The Bobcats won 6-0 and 3-0, raising pledges for each run scored. The squad is now 13-1 at home and 27-15 overall.
“We went all out,” said Selena Hernandez, freshman shortstop. “People dyed their hair — I did. We made our (pink) bows and headbands, and we took a lot of pictures. It was really fun.”
Bobcat softball plays a double-header against Houston Baptist University Wednesday, starting a six-game home stand that could have major implications for seeding in the Southland Conference tournament.
Texas State is currently in first place in the standings, with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi a close second. McNeese State and Sam Houston State are tied for third place, and UTSA and Central Arkansas are fourth and fifth, respectively.
All five teams have at least seven conference wins and are within three games of tying the Bobcats. McNeese State travels to San Marcos this weekend and UTSA plays a midweek double-header to round out the home stand.
Haley Lemons, junior first baseman, said the six-game stretch is very important for the Bobcats, as the SLC is wide open this season.
Texas State softball will take a break from conference contests for the next week, starting with a trip to Denton for a Wednesday double-header against North Texas.
The squad has a six-game home stand beginning next Wednesday, with matches against Houston Baptist, McNeese State and UTSA, before hitting the road again for the final four contests of the regular season.
The games against North Texas on Wednesday and HBU a week later are the final non-conference matches for the Bobcats. Coach Ricci Woodard said the team needs to maintain a high level of play to stay competitive in conference.
“We’ve done a good job of figuring out ways to win ball games in conference,” she said. “I think we have a couple coming up that we will really have to play our best. These midweek series, this week and next, we hope to just stay tuned in while we get back to conference games.”
Texas State softball snapped a three-game losing streak by sweeping a double-header against Central Arkansas at home Friday.
The Bobcats dropped the final contest versus Nicholls State March 31 and suffered a two-game sweep by Houston days later for their only three-game skid of the season.
The squad responded just as Coach Ricci Woodard hoped, winning 2-0 and 3-2 against the Sugar Bears.