The Texas State softball team will try to defend its 14-game home winning streak in this weekend’s Texas Shootout, but will have to do so without one of their star pitchers.
Texas State will play four of the five teams in the tournament, including a familiar foe in former Southland rival Sam Houston State University.
Last season, the Bobcats swept the series against SHSU. They were victorious in the Southland Conference Championship game, 3-0, with then-senior Chandler Hall pitching her second no-hitter of the season, going 2 for 3 at the plate and driving in a run.
“With ex-Southland conference teams and Sam Houston, we know they’ll be out there to beat us,” Lemons said. “We didn’t leave them with a good taste in their mouth. We’ve dominated that conference and so yes, we know we can beat them. With all of those match-ups, we know we have to bring our “A” game because they want to beat us so bad.”
The Bobcats have not lost a home game since Feb. 19, 2012, against Rutgers University. The losing pitcher in the 2-1 contest was then-junior Anne Marie Taylor. Taylor pitched a complete game, gave up two earned runs and struck out three batters in the defeat.
Now, the senior pitcher has a leg injury and will be sidelined for some time.
“It’s not good,” said Coach Ricci Woodard. “She is going to be out for a while. We don’t have a diagnosis yet, but she will not be pitching for a while. She is getting some stuff done (Thursday), and we’ll find out more on Friday.”
In Taylor’s junior campaign she posted a 17-8 record in 28 starts. In 2012, Taylor had a team-low 1.71 ERA, struck out 10 and recorded 22 complete games.
In Taylor’s three starts this season she has a 0-2 record. The senior pitcher has given up 13 hits, walked 12 batters and has 14 strikeouts to go along with a 4.29 ERA. Even with the rocky start, senior first baseman Haley Lemons understands the loss of a senior pitcher is a “big blow.”
“Anne Marie is a big part of our family,” Lemons said. “She’s in our senior class. So, that is a big blow to us on the field. We do understand that Anne Marie has to take care of Anne Marie first and rehab as best she can so we can have her back as soon as possible. Right now, we just have to focus on the people we have and figure out how to dominate without her.”
The University of Texas-Arlington, a former Southland member, will be at the tournament but is not scheduled to play Texas State in the first two days. However, the two could meet in Sunday’s championship game. The teams will be competing alongside each other in the WAC this season.
The Bobcats have found recent success against UTA, winning their previous three matchups. Last season, Texas State shutout the Mavericks 4-0 and has not allowed Arlington to score more than a run in the past three meetings.
“It’s a new year,” sophomore third baseman Courtney Harris said. “It’s always fun to watch them and see what they have on the field. I’m excited to see what they have to offer and get ready to play them in conference when we see them later on down in the season.”
The University of North Texas, Baylor University and Texas Tech University will compete in the tournament as well. Baylor comes into the contest as the only ranked team, claiming the No. 25 spot in the nation.
Texas State is the defending champion of the Texas Shootout, defeating the Red Raiders in 2012, 3-1.
This weekend will mark the Bobcats’ first home games of the season. The team so far has a 2-7 record on the road.
“It’s always nice to play at home,” Woodard said. “You get to stay in and sleep in your own bed and the familiarity is always nice. It’s just nice to be at home and you expect the team to come out with a little bit more energy and a little bit more fire.”