Baseball prepares for weekend series against South Alabama

By: 

Sports Reporter

The Texas State baseball team looks to improve its 13-4 home record when the Bobcats face South Alabama this weekend in a Sun Belt Conference series.

The Jaguars are 6-7 on the road this season.

“These are the games you got to win,” said Granger Studdard, freshman outfielder. “It was nice to get a win on Tuesday, and hopefully we can keep it rolling this weekend.”

The Jaguars rank eighth in the conference with a Sun Belt record of 3-5. The team took two out of three games against the No. 24 Arkansas Razorbacks earlier in the season but was swept by UT-Arlington last weekend.

The Bobcats defeated UTSA Tuesday night 7-6, erasing a 3-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth. Texas State is third in the Sun Belt with a 6-3 record after dropping two of three to Arkansas State in last weekend’s series.

“We as a team have talked about imposing our will,” said Coach Ty Harrington. “Our competiveness has been better and having a comeback victory on Tuesday proved that and our guys needed that.”   

Adam Ballew, Jaguars outfielder, is the team’s leading hitter with a .301 average, and Cole Gleason, South Alabama infielder trails with an average of .294.

The Jaguars are last in the conference in total runs scored as a team with 87 and last in home runs as a team with three.

The pitching staff for South Alabama is fifth in the conference with a collective 4.01 ERA.  The Jaguars’ have allowed a total of 63 runs, which is third fewest in the Sun Belt.

Texas State offensively has 128 RBI, seventh in the conference.

“I think we have been better offensively these past games,” Harrington said. “We have been hitting a lot of balls that land in gloves. We have been good about not hitting many fly balls and been great about going the other way with pitches.”

Garrett Mattlage, junior infielder, leads the team with 25 RBI.

Matt Smith, sophomore infielder, has increased his playing time for the team, starting in 19 of the last 20 games.

“One thing you do know about (Smith) is that he is competitive,” Harrington said. “The games are important to him, and he is fiery about baseball.”

Smith is the leading hitter for the Bobcats, batting .333 and has yet to be caught stealing this season.

Texas State’s pitching staff is tied for the best strikeout totals in the conference as a club with 227 for the season.

Austen Williams, junior pitcher, leads the Sun Belt in strikeouts with 49 and has the best opponent’s batting average for the Bobcats.

Williams received his first loss last conference series against Arkansas State as he pitched six innings and allowed four earned runs.

Friday night’s starter Taylor Black, junior pitcher, has thrown at least five innings in every game this season, including two games where he threw into the ninth inning. Black leads the team in innings pitched.

Texas State is riding the momentum of a ninth inning walk-off win and looks to carry that into the weekend series.

“We have been grinding out at bats,” Studdard said. “It puts us in great situations to win when we are taking that kind of approach into an important weekend series.”