The Texas State softball team played rival UTSA Wednesday at home, defeating the Roadrunners 8-0 for the first time in fourmatchups.
“We talked about it early on,” said Coach Ricci Woodard. “I knew this was going to be a rivalry because they beat us so many times last year. This team was hungry to make sure they proved a point. I thought they did a good job of being patient and finding a way to win later in the game.”
UTSA took charge early in the first inning after catcher Megan Low walked following a single up the middle by left fielder Sierra Sproul. First baseman Jori Fox grounded out to third to end the inning with two runners left on base.
The Roadrunners were unable to score after loading the bases with two outs in the top of the second. Senior pitcher Rayn House forced right fielder Victoria Birdwell to fly out and end the inning, leaving the game tied at zero.
Kortney Koroll, junior designated player, hit a single up the middle to score Kendall Wiley, sophomore first baseman, giving the Bobcats a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third.
Birdwell opened the fifth inning with a single into right field. Sproul walked to put runners on first and second for UTSA one batter later.
Fox was able to reach first base on a fielder’s choice by Courtney Harris, junior third baseman. Utility player Angelica Nino came in to pinch run for Fox and advanced to second base on another fielder’s choice. The Roadrunners loaded the bases after House walked third baseman Vivian Tijerina.
The Roadrunners sent in a pinch runner for Tijerina and pinch hitter Randee Crawford with the bases loaded in the top of the fifth. House struck out Crawford to end the inning, maintaining the 1-0 lead.
“It was great,” Woodard said. “(House) was the one who wanted these guys the most. When they brought in the pinch hitter she was like ‘I got this, I got this.’ She was really confident and threw the ball really well tonight.”
Texas State was able to capitalize in the fifth inning after a successful double steal attempt by Harris and Danielle Warne, freshman pinch runner. Delia Saucedo, senior right fielder, hit a two-run RBI single scoring Harris and Warne, giving Texas State a 3-0 lead.
“You always want to be the one to break it open,” Saucedo said. “When I get up in the batter’s box I always have that adrenaline going, saying, ‘I want to be the one.’ I knew all I had to do was a groundball up the middle or opposite side so the runner could score, or hit a long fly ball because there were no outs. All I had to do was correct my swing.”
UTSA replaced its starting pitcher Kacy Freeze with Chelsea Parker, who gave up three walks and three RBI in five-straight batters to increase the Bobcat lead 6-0. Pitcher Nicole Merrill came into the contest in relief for Parker who left the bases loaded.
Merrill gave up a walk to Wiley to score senior shortstop Jordan Masek and kept the bases loaded, making the score 7-0. Two batters later, Merrill gave up the winning walk to Koroll to end the game in five innings.
“I didn’t change anything when I was up to bat,” Koroll said. “I was just trying to hit a groundball up the middle. I didn’t even notice the score. I wasn’t focusing on the fact we needed only one run to run-rule. I was going up there with my normal mindset.”
House earned the win for the Bobcats, advancing her overall record to 6-1 on the season. She threw her third complete-game shutout of the season, giving up six hits, striking out three and walking four in the contest.
“This team has played a lot of ball games where we could’ve either won or lost,” Woodard said. “They’re a group that doesn’t stop.”