Texas State (1-3) will host the University of Houston in a three-game series this weekend with hopes that they can better their conference worst .176 batting average.
“We got to get better and grow as an offensive team,” Head Coachsaid. “We got to maintain. We have to have four pitch at-bat and sometimes a five and six pitch at-bat so we get more looks at it, with hopes that (the opposition) can make a mistake.”
The Bobcats are coming off of their 6-3 Tuesday night loss to Baylor University in Waco where they were not able to take advantage of the Bears’ five errors. The Bobcats were right on their season average Tuesday, .176 from the plate.
Texas State would be averaging a little over two runs a game and five hits a game, if it were not for an offensive explosion against Sam Houston State University in last weekend’s finale. Texas State had nine hits and nine runs against the Bearkats.
Houston (3-1) is coming off of a 6-3 victory over Sam Houston State who defeated the Bobcats 10-9 last Sunday. The Cougars were able to score runs off of Bearkat miscues and their four errors. Left fielder Kyle Survance and third baseman Kyle Kirk went a combined 4-7 with two RBI’s, a run and a walk.
Texas State is led in hitting by senior catcher Andrew Stumph and sophomore short stop Garrett Mattlage who are each hitting .267 in four games with three RBI and six runs combined. On the contrary, sophomore right fielder Brooks Orton leads the team in at-bats (19) but only has two hits (.105).
“If we just keep grinding and stay to our approach, I think we will be alright (offensively),” Mattlage said. “(Hitting Coach Mike) Silva has been working on our approach to get on base. If we can just keep getting people on base then the hitting will come around.”
In relation to the Bobcats’ offense, Houston has three players batting over .400 in their first four games. Freshman first baseman Justin Montemayor is the team’s leading hitter (.417) and has already hit a home run on the season.
Freshman second baseman Josh Vidales along with Survance are hitting .400 with three RBI and six runs combined in four games.
“It’s the first couple of games,” Orton said. “It takes a few games to get the offense going and to get used to game speed. As an offense we want to keep grinding away and we know we are going to get chances.”
The Bobcats can hope to find a solution to their offensive blues against the Cougars while leaning on their one-two punch at pitcher with junior Kyle Finnegan and sophomore Taylor Black. Finnegan and Black have combined for 18 strikeouts and six walks with seven hits and two runs allowed.
Houston will send senior left-handed pitcher Matt Hernandez to the mound on Friday to face Finnegan. Hernandez has five strikeouts and no walks in six innings, giving up two runs on nine hits so far in 2013. Senior Austin Pruitt will get the nod the second game, coming off of a 4-1 victory over Northeastern University.
Relievers have not been an issue for Texas State, thus far, on the positive for Texas State. Freshman reliever John Hollonquist and junior left-hander Donnie Hart both kept Texas State in the game against Baylor on Tuesday. They combined for three and a third innings, one hit, no runs and five strikeouts.
Texas State took the series last season at Houston, winning two out of three by a total score of 13-3. The Bobcats swept the Cougars two seasons ago in three games. Houston has only won once in nine games against Texas State since 2010.