After falling to I-35 rival UTSA on Tuesday, the Bobcats came into this series looking to start a new winning streak in the month of May. Game one of Saturday’s double-header was highlighted by pitching duel between aces at Bobcat Ballpark. Both teams struggled to get anything going on the offensive side of things. In the top of the sixth, Georgia State was able to get on the board first from a RBI groundout off the bat of Josh Smith giving the road team a 1-0 edge over Texas State but the resilience of the Bobcats this season has been immaculate and it continued in this game. Jaxon Williams stepped up in the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded and ripped a one-out grand slam giving Texas State their first lead of the game. After trailing late the Bobcats came in clutch once again, giving them their 32nd win of the season, 5-1 over the Panthers.
The score may not tell the story but the pitching from both sides definitely stood out. On the mound for the maroon and gold was Nicholas Fraze (6-3) who pitched 6.0 innings allowing five hits and one run. Also the Starter was able to strikeout 6 Panthers in his time at work. The winner for the Bobcats was Brent Hebert (4-1). Hebert didn’t give up a single hit in his three innings on the mound and kept the Panthers guessing with three strikeouts to his name.
For the Panthers, junior Hunter Gattis (1-6) pitched a spectacular game but was awarded with the loss even with nine strikeouts through 7.1 innings. Considering Gattis being named Pre-Season Sun-Belt Conference pitcher of the year, and the Bobcats being one of the best hitting runs of the season, Gattis had a lot on his hands. He did a good job containing the 4th rated team in batting average to just three hits with his time on the mound.
Head Coach Ty Harrington was right when he said, “it’s a conference game, every game is tough”. For the Bobcats to pull this win off after only getting 5 hits, it says a lot about what this team is made of. With this win the Bobcats gained some of their spark back.
The second game of the double-header matched the intensity of the first game with stellar pitching on both sides of the diamond. Both teams were held scoreless through the first four innings before junior Will Hollis got the Bobcats on the scoreboard with his RBI double in the fifth. Texas State’s starting pitcher, sophomore Hunter McMahon, cruised through the Panthers on a number of occasions in this game, but fell victim to the first Panther run in the top of the 8th inning, a solo home run hit by Rhett Harper. After walking the next batter, McMahon was replaced by senior Kyle Bradford who gave up two more hits in the inning, including an RBI double. Senior Zach Leigh wasn’t able to hold off the Panthers offense in the top of the ninth either, as he surrendered a two-out walk and back to back singles which brought the score to 3-1. The Bobcats had no answer in the top of the ninth and fell to Panthers at that score.
Senior Felipe Rodriguez went 2-for-3 on the day and scored the ‘Cats only run. McMahon, the losing pitcher, threw 7.1 innings of four hit baseball and allowed two earned runs. Georgia State’s starting pitcher, Tyler Koch, earned the no-decision with his 6.1 innings and five strikeouts. The Bobcats had six hits on the day and left eight runners on base, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Panthers in game two of this doubleheader.
In a win or take all game between these two teams, one had to figure out a way to get their hitting started early. The team that ultimately did was the Texas State Bobcats. Instead of waiting until late in the game to get runs in, the Bobcats decided today would be different. Everyone contributed in this game with each of the nine batters in the starting lineup adding a hit to their stat line. The dagger in the heart of the Panthers came from sophomore Dalton Shuffield. The former Johnson Jaguar stepped up to the plate with a cool demeanor and let a ball glide to left center giving the Bobcats the run rule in eight innings. The 12-2 win awarded the Bobcats their third run rule of the season.
The previous two games were Pitching duels, but with the series on the line a Bobcat or a Panther decided it was time to separate themselves from the pack. The day started with fiery batting from one of the Sun Belt’s best RBI men: Will Hollis. Hollis hit a two RBI single up the middle bringing in runners, Williams and Jaylen Hubbard. The small ball was great but before you could look up Travon Benton decided it was time to go yard. His bomb brought in Wuthrich, giving the Bobcats a 4-0 lead at the bottom of the 1st.
Four Bobcats hit homers helping Texas State cap off this weekend with five longballs total, the most in a game since 2011. The home runs on Sunday’s game were brought to you by Benton, John Wuthrich (2), Ryan Newman and Hubbard.
Wuthrich went 3-5 with two home runs and crossed the plate three times. Wuthrich stayed after to sign some baseballs for kids at Texas State. He described it as “a moment you dream about as a little kid, going to baseball games and seeing the guys on the field and to now be in that position is just awesome.”
Texas State will travel to Austin this upcoming Tuesday to face UT in what is sure to be a jam-packed showdown. You can catch all the action on KTSW 89.9 starting at 6:30 p.m., catch live stats and audio on txstatebobcats.com, or follow along on KTSW Sports’ Twitter page.