The Texas State baseball team won its first conference series since March 28 against Georgia State this past weekend.
The team swept Georgia State, outscoring the Panthers 16-4 in the series.
“That’s just hitting,” said Ben McElroy, junior outfielder. “Sometimes the offense can be a rollercoaster ride. We just stuck with the same approach this series, kept working hard and knew eventually the ball would start falling.”
The Bobcats went in to Sunday’s matchup with the series won, but it was a historic night for Hunter Lemke, senior pitcher.
Lemke earned his eighth save of the season. This allowed him to surpass former pitcher Jeff McVaney for career saves with 16.
The record has been intact since McVaney’s graduation back in 2012.
Texas State struck in the first inning when Garrett Mattlage, junior infielder, singled to score Matt Smith, sophomore infielder, from second.
Granger Studdard, freshman outfielder, followed Mattlage’s single with one of his own, scoring Mattlage from second to put the Bobcats up 2-0.
Texas State would never trail in the game, as the team scored on an RBI single from Tyler Pearson, senior catcher, and Studdard’s sacrifice fly to right field. This allowed Studdard to record his second RBI of the game.
The Bobcats’ pinch-hit grand slam was enough to earn the team a victory in game two of the series on Saturday. The feat was broadcast on national television.
Austin O’Neal, senior infielder, did not start game two but was called upon from the bench by Coach Ty Harrington in the bottom of the sixth when the team was down down 2-0.
“He started me out with a slider down and away,” O’Neal said, “I was just up there trying not to get jammed, and the next pitch he threw me a middle-in fastball.”
O’Neal struck the middle-in fastball to deep left field over the fence for a grand slam to put the Bobcats up 4-2.
The homer marks O’Neal’s first of the season and his first collegiate grand slam.
“I was just up there trying to hit the ball hard,” O’Neal said. “I can’t really control getting a hit, but if my timing is right and I go with the pitch, you expect big things.”
Dylan Bein, freshman pitcher, relieved junior starter Taylor Black in the seventh and threw two hitless innings to help secure the team win.
“Outside of Austin’s (O’Neal) swing, (Bein) was the difference in the game,” Harrington said. “We were able to keep the momentum on our side. We have had moments where someone will hit a homer and we cannot hold the lead. His ability to get six outs was huge.”
Black pitched six innings, allowed 2 earned runs, walked two and struck out five en route to his third victory of the season.
The team did not allow another hit past the sixth. In the ninth inning, Lemke stepped to the mound and recorded his seventh save.
Texas State opened the series with a victory, holding the Sun Belt’s second-best offense to 1 run in an 8-1 victory.
Austen Williams, junior pitcher, earned the win, his fourth within five starts.
Williams increased his win total to six on the season. He has pitched at least six innings in each of the five starts.
Mattlage connected with his second homer of the season in the bottom of the first.
Mattlage and Studdard recorded two RBI each, with Pearson, Smith, and Cory Giesler, sophomore outfielder, each earning an RBI of their own.
The team led the entire game and held the Panthers to a shutout until the ninth when Joey Roach, Panther catcher, doubled home the team’s first run.
The team heads to Waco Tuesday for a matchup with Baylor, followed by a trip back to San Marcos Wednesday to play against the Bears in a two-game series.