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.
The only base runner Sam Houston had was on an error by Selena Hernandez, freshman shortstop. Hall started the championship game with 12-straight strikes, and struck out the leadoff batter in the first six innings. She had nine strikeouts in Sunday’s game and 17 overall.
“It became about the no-hitter before the game was even over,” Woodard said. “I think that was more exciting for these guys, to pull off the no-hitter.”
The Bobcats scored in the bottom of the first inning with a RBI single by Hall. They scored again in the fourth inning on a Bearkat throwing error and a suicide squeeze by Jordan Masek, sophomore outfielder, to take a definitive 3-0 lead.
Anne Marie Taylor, junior pitcher, started the contest against McNeese and allowed two runs on four hits and three walks, striking out six.
Texas State trailed early, as the Cowgirls recorded a RBI double in the first inning after a walk and hit batter. The Bobcats responded the next frame with back-to-back two-out RBI hits by Megan Parten, senior catcher, and Masek.
McNeese tied the game in the fifth inning with a solo home run by Alanna DiVittorio, but Texas State retook its lead with a RBI single by Hernandez in the sixth. The Bobcats then sealed the victory with a two-run home run by Hall in the top of the seventh inning.
“I was looking for an outside pitch because (the McNeese pitcher) was throwing me inside the previous at bat,” Hall said. “When she threw it inside, I just turned on it. Luckily it went over the fence. It’s always a little tense leading by just one.”
Hall, who was named SLC Pitcher and Player of the Year for the 2012 season, started Texas State’s first game against UTSA. The senior pitched a complete game, allowing one earned run on four hits with eight strike outs.
Trailing 1-0 with two outs in the fifth inning, Allison Snow, senior outfielder, reached on a pinch-hit single. Masek followed with a bunt single, and Hernandez hit a two-run double as the UTSA center fielder misread the fly ball.
“(The UTSA pitcher) was throwing outside so I had to crowd the plate,” Hernandez said. “The center fielder kind of misread it. I have been struggling at the plate lately, so it worked out.”
Those three consecutive hits were all the Bobcat offense needed, as UTSA, which scored first in the third inning, had only one base runner after the fourth frame.
Five Bobcats made the All-Tournament team: Anna Hernandez, junior second baseman, Shelby Carnline, junior third baseman, Coralee Ramirez, sophomore outfielder, Brooke Baker, junior outfielder, and Hall.
Hall’s three tournament MVP awards set a SLC record. Texas State is now on a 13-game winning streak.