Texas State softball won the Southland Conference last year, but started their 2012’s campaign dropping five of six contests. This year the Bobcats are hoping to start off the season on a better note.
The team will get a chance to do just that at the Hilton Houston Plaza Classic. The tournament will be hosted by the University of Houston from Feb. 8-10 and will officially begin the Bobcat’s season.
The Bobcats will face the University of Iowa first, their only meeting of the tournament. The Hawkeyes own a 2-0 all-time record against Texas State. The last time the teams played was in 2010 when Iowa put up four runs, winning 4-1. Now-senior first baseman Haley Lemons drove in the only run in the game for the Bobcats.
“We do want to show the other teams that we are ready,” Lemons said. “We’ve been preparing for this season since this summer. I think for us, we just need to focus on playing the game that we need to play. I think the rest will take care of itself, whether we play Iowa, Houston or whoever.”
The Cougars and Texas State will see each other three times in the Classic. Houston leads the all-time series 11-8, with the two teams splitting last year’s matchups. The Bobcats won the first two games in the Texas A&M Invitational, and the Cougars prevailed in the next two games in Houston.
Senior pitcher Anne Marie Taylor pitched in one of the meetings last year. She went six innings, gave up six hits and struck out six in the 2-0 loss to the Cougars.
“It would be nice to win all these games this weekend,” Taylor said. “We are going to have to focus in our practices. If we can do that, we can definitely get some wins this weekend.”
Texas State will play Lipscomb University on Saturday. The Bobcats have never played Lipscomb, and this will be their only matchup in the Classic.
“This will be an interesting tournament,” said Coach Ricci Woodard. “You don’t really know what to expect because you only see (Texas State) play each other for the past four months. I kind of never know what to expect. I would hope to think that things would go our way. I have a lot of kids that are excited to get on the field, and we will see where we are at.”
The ball club was picked to finish first in its only appreance in the WAC conference, and the players are determined to start the season strong. The team knows expectations are high and wants to start things off the right way in this tournament.
“I expect to win all the games,” said senior outfielder Brooke Baker. “I know we will play hard. I hope we will start the season strong and do well in this tournament.”
The University of Louisiana-Lafayette is the fifth team in the tournament. The Bobcats are not scheduled to play the Ragin’ Cajuns this weekend, but will see them in next week’s 27th Annual Louisiana Classic.
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