The Texas State baseball team started their season with two comeback efforts this weekend but came up short both games, going 1-2 in the CenturyLink Bobcat Invitational.
The Bobcats played Missouri State Friday and lost 3-2, and won against Tulane Saturday 2-3. On Sunday Texas State took on former Southland Conference foe Sam Houston State University looking to end the weekend over .500, but came up short to the Bearkats.
The Bobcats erased a seven-run deficit with 8 runs in the seventh, but surrendering two runs in the top of the ninth to lose 10-9.
“That was a tough loss,” said Coach. “Obviously to battle that far back and not be able to pull it out in the end was tough. Credit to (SHSU) for staying in there in the ninth and they chipped away and chipped away. They came up with big hits when they had to do it.”
Bobcat second baseman J.D. Stinnett started the comeback trend in the bottom of the sixth inning with a single. The bases were loaded after senior outfielder Morgan Mickan’s walk and sophomore infielder Garrett Mattlage’s single. That series of at-bats got the Bobcats going.
“It feels good to get a little more offense and productivity,” Mattlage said. “I think we are having good at-bats and putting good swings on balls. It’s feeling like it will start to come around for us. You see one guy (have a big hit) then it makes you want to (have a big hit).”
The SHSU bullpen walked one run in but after that it was the Bobcats who were responsible for the flurry of scores. A double by freshman outfielder Cory Geisler knocked in two runners. Sophomore outfielder Brooks Orton tripled to left-center, scoring two. Finally, Mickan hit the second Bobcat triple of the inning to score two more. Texas State took the lead 9-8.
“Geisler got the hit that really got us going,” Harrington said. “He struggled in the first two games but to walk into that situation and get a double was big for us.”
The eighth inning was scoreless after the Bobcat crowd’s excitement commenced. The Bobcats started the top of the ninth with junior pitcher Hunter Lemke on the mound but quickly made a change to sophomore pitcher Austen Williams, who had a “great” showing the night before against Tulane University.
Lemke gave up two ensuing singles after he struck out the first batter. Williams started his appearance in a 2-0 hole with two runners on with one out. Bearkats hitter Luke Plucheck doubled to deep left field, bringing in two runners. SHSU took the lead 10-9.
The Bobcats followed up by striking, grounding then striking out, ending the game. Texas State was coming off a 2-0 victory over Tulane where they created late-game magic as well, scoring two runs in the eighth inning.
Junior pitcher Taylor Black took the mound Saturday against Tulane for Texas State and struck out seven batters in seven and two-thirds innings. Black walked two batters and surrendered four hits. Junior pitcher Donnie Hart came in during the eighth and earned the win by only pitching a third of an inning. Williams earned the save, striking out two batters in the ninth.
Junior Kyle Finnegan, the only returning starting pitcher for Texas State, fanned 11 batters in the opening game loss against Missouri State University, walking four. Finnegan totaled 108 pitches in six innings, 66 strikes.
The Bobcats hit four Friday against Missouri State University. Again, the Bobcats had late-game success scoring their two runs in the seventh inning to tie it up. Senior centerfielder Andrew Stumph doubled to right, scoring Mattlage. Sophomore outfielder Cody Lovejoy scored earlier in the inning on a Mattlage fielder’s choice.
Both Tulane and Missouri State were 2-1 on their weekends. However, Tulane beat Missouri when the teams were head-to-head 6-4. SHSU and Texas State were 1-2 in the invitational, which was held at the Bobcat Baseball Complex.
“I’m indifferent right now,” Harrington said. “(This weekend) was an opportunity to find out about a lot of people. In that first weekend it’s sometimes a tale of approaches and more of an emotional approach than a physical approach.”
The Bobcats travel Tuesday to Waco to play No. 23 Baylor University. First pitch will be at 6:35 p.m. Baylor was swept by No. 30 University of California-Irvine by a total score of 26-7 in three games this weekend.
“We are young, but at the same time, we can handle our own,” Orton said. “With that being said, I think we will be able to move forward from this weekend. We will go to Baylor with open eyes and be ready to play.”