The baseball team used a three-run inning in the sixth and a group effort on the mound Tuesday night to eventually shutout its Interstate 35 rival, the University of Texas-San Antonio, 6-0.
“For us it was an important game, whether it was UTSA or whoever it was,” said Coach. “It was important for us to come out and carry over a little bit of the momentum we grabbed this past weekend. These guys have really been grinding.”
Sophomore first baseman Ben McElroy came in to pinch hit for the starting junior Austin O’Neal with bases loaded. Short stop Garrett Mattlage, designated hitter Andrew Stumph and catcher Tyler Pearson were the scoring runners on the play.
McElroy, who has been battling a quadricep injury, knocked all three runners in on a bases-clearing double into the gap in right-center field. The sophomore was 1-1 with a walk in his limited appearance.
“Every day I’ve been working hard to get back,” McElroy said. “I’m almost there. To come in and make that type of impact after sitting on the bench for a while and having to watch, it feels good.”
Stumph continued to be a factor in the Bobcats’ offense, generating two hits in four at-bats, one of which was in their difference-making sixth inning. He got Texas State on the board with a RBI single in the fourth inning, knocking in sophomore right fielder Cody Lovejoy. Stumph was the leading hitter during the weekend against Northern Kentucky University and is now batting .333 on the season.
Senior pitcher Mitchell Pitts got the start on the mound for Texas State and was limited to three and two-third innings, working back from Tommy John surgery. Pitts had two strikeouts and surrendered four hits. Pitts got the start last Tuesday against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, which resulted in a loss for the senior.
Harrison said the team wants Pitts to be the regular Tuesday started, but acknowledged that setbacks are possible when battling back from injury.
“A surgery like (Tommy John) is intense and everybody reacts differently,” Harrison said. “This was his longest outing. When we pulled him, he was upset. I really didn’t want to overextend him there.”
Texas State used a plethora of pitchers after Pitt’s departure in the third inning. Senior left-hander Covey Morrow got the ball following in the third and picked off right fielder Tony Ramirez to quickly end the inning. Reliever Jeremy Hallonquist pitched a full two innings and struck out one. He did not give up a run, hit or walk.
UTSA startr, left-hander Nolan Trabanino, had yet to give up a walk coming into the contest. He entered the game with a 1.29 earned run average and was 3-0 in three appearances. Against the Bobcats, Trabanino pitched five and a third innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits. He had two strikeouts and one walk.
Senior left fielder Kevin Sah was 0-18 at the plate in 2012 in five starts. Coming into Tuesday night’s game, Sah was hitting .500 in 12 at-bats on the young season. Sah had an RBI after doubling in the fifth inning. He advanced to third base when UTSA attempted to throw out senior third baseman Nick Smelser at the plate. The ball then trickled near the backstop and Sah was thrown out trying to reach home.
Pearson led the Bobcats in runs scored, reaching home plate twice against the Roadrunners. Lovejoy continued to build his .323 average with two hits in four at-bats including a bunt down the first baseline, resulting in his reaching second after a UTSA throwing error.
“It feels good to be back and winning as a team,” said Hunter Lemke. “I’m filling the strike zone more and letting them get themselves out. I’m playing with my defense behind me and no worries. I felt good about my inning (on Friday) and will from here on out.”
Junior reliever Lemke got his chance to close out the game in the ninth. Lemke went three up and three down building off his weekend performance. The junior has been the closer for the Bobcats at times this season, and he recovered from a 0-2 start.
The Bobcats will travel to Corvallis to take on Oregon State University in a weekend series. The Beavers are undefeated on the season. Texas State is riding a three game winning streak, adding to its 5-7 record.