Catcher Felipe Rodriguez and pitcher Brandon Lewis fist-bump near the mound after getting the win.

Bobcats Start Slow But Finish Strong

By Garrett Martin
Sports Reporter
@GarrettMKTSW

The Bobcats took two out of three games in the road series against the Georgia Southern Eagles. All three games were blowouts and not much late game drama ensued. The weekend started rough for the Bobcats, but Saturday and Sunday’s games showed how this Texas State team can be dominant offensively.

Game 1

In Friday’s game the team got off to a slow start with poor performances on both sides of the ball. Sophomore Hunter McMahon usually starts Saturday games, but head coach Ty Harrington gave the ball to him on Friday, his first Friday start of the season.

After giving up four runs in the bottom of the first, McMahon gave up a double in the bottom of the third before lightning delayed the game almost two hours, something the Bobcats dealt with last weekend at home against Troy.

Even though the lightning delay lasted long, McMahon was handed the ball once again. However, the Eagles picked up where they left off before the delay and added two more runs on him.

Handed the loss, McMahon went only 4.0 innings, allowing six hits, six earned runs, and recording five strikeouts.

From there, the game drew further out of reach when freshman Reece Gould stepped onto the mound. He threw a solid half inning in the bottom of the fifth, but his performance in the sixth and seventh gave the Eagles a 12-0 lead before freshman left-hander Dontae Woodard could finish the inning off.

No further damage included, the final score in the game finished 12-0 in favor of Georgia Southern.

Game 2

The sour taste of defeat wouldn’t last long for the Bobcats. They bounced back in Saturday’s game with a sound 8-2 victory over the Eagles.

Senior starter Nicholas Fraze was given the win after his performance in 5.2 innings. He allowed two runs, gave up five hits, three walks and recorded five strikeouts en route to his fifth win on the year.

The run support came from the ‘Cats productive third inning which saw seven runs total, including a three-run home run from junior Will Hollis and a solo home run from sophomore John Wuthrich.

Hollis finished the game 3-for-5 and a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. Other great plate performances include junior Jaxon Williams’ 2-for-3 day with an RBI and two walks, and senior Ryan Newman who finished 1-for-4 with a two-RBI double following the two home runs in the third inning.

Fraze gave up the only Eagle runs in the fourth and sixth innings, before a strong bullpen performance kept the Eagle bats at bay and secured the win for the Bobcats.

Game 3

The Bobcats followed up Saturday’s victory with another dominant one over the Eagles, 14-4 in seven innings.

Senior starter Connor Reich has pitched lights out on Sundays this year, but for the second week in a row he got off to a rough start. In the first inning, he walked his tenth batter on the year after striking out the first batter of the inning. Then, it was two extra-base hits that drove in two runs before Reich had recorded his second out of the ball game.

Reich had a hard time slowing down Eagle batters, but that didn’t prove to be that important to the Bobcat offense.

Texas State destroyed Georgia Southern’s pitching in the top halves of the third and fourth innings. They scored three in the third and followed up with seven more runs in the fourth.

Later in the game, the Eagles were fighting off a run-rule decision after Wuthrich singled home a run in the top of the sixth, which brought the score to 12-2.

Reich gave up a home run in the bottom of the sixth which made the score 12-3, but the Bobcats weren’t done scoring either. Newman singled up the middle to score senior Skyler Valentine. Then, sophomore Dalton Shuffield scored on a passed ball, putting the game firmly in run-rule territory in the bottom of the seventh.

Reich had a chance to close the game out in the seventh, but allowed a home run to set the score at 14-4. Reich left the game in senior Zachary Leigh’s hands to get the final two outs of the game. Reich registered the win and finished with 6.1 innings of work, striking out eight batters, but he gave up nine hits, four earned runs, and two walks.

Huge three-hit performances from Felipe Rodriguez, Jaylen Hubbard and a four-hit performance from Shuffield were the catalyst in the Bobcat’s dominant run-rule victory on Sunday.

On the weekend, Shuffield batted 7-for-13 with two RBI’s and three runs scored, Williams went 5-for-9 with five walks and three runs scored, and Rodriguez went 6-for-11 from the plate with three RBI’s and three runs scored.

The Bobcats return home to play Houston Baptist on Tuesday, April 16. That game marks the first in a five-game homespan for Texas State. You can listen to the action on KTSW 89.9 or watch it on txstatebobcats.com.

Featured image by Texas State Athletics.

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