By Daven Meredith
Bobcats left fielder Jose Gonzalez homers as the Bobcats defeat the Georgia State Panthers in game one of their three-game series 8-7 at Bobcat Ballpark.
Gonzalez hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh to give the Bobcats their first lead of the game, and the eventual win. Improving their record to (31-16) on the season and (13-9) in Sun Belt play. The Panthers fall to (24-23) overall and (11-11) in the Sun Belt.
Gonzalez went 2-for-3 at the plate with a home run and 3 RBI. Gonzalez says trust in his teammates in the dugout is the key to the Bobcat’s success.
“It’s a lot of trust in ourselves, “Gonzalez said. “Chase Mora gets it done every time, same with Dylan Pena and Rashawn Gallaway. We have a young team, but we trust and have faith in each other.
Texas State coach Steven Trout said it took all phases of the game to get the win Friday.
“It’s May Baseball in the Sun Belt,” Trout said. “Not everything was perfect tonight, but we found ways. It took a little bit of everything: good pitching, good plays, and timely hitting.”
The Bobcats’ pitching got off to a rough start. Ace pitcher Levi Wells got the start on the mound, giving up three home runs in the first inning, but would keep the Bobcats alive until the top of the sixth, striking out five batters.
“Today was a tough day to pitch. They hit a lot of home runs,” Trout said. “Wells just kept pitching, and he got us into the sixth. He gave us a chance.”
In the bottom of the seventh, down by three, Gonzalez and Pene would hit back-to-back home runs to give the Bobcats the lead.
The Bobcats had three home runs Friday, with Mora hitting his team-leading 14th home run of the year in the bottom of the fourth. The total places him in a tie for 10th in team history for a season with David Wood (2007) and John Wuthrich (2022). Trout said that Mora is just coming into his own.
“Moras is having a great year,” Trout said. “The crazy part is he is just now coming into his own from a hitters standpoint. He hit with power early, but now he is just becoming an overall better hitter at the plate.”
Bobcat right-handed pitcher Triston Dixon was awarded the win, while lefty Jackson Stroud was given the save as the Bobcats held off a late Panther comeback taking game one 8-7.
Friday’s win marks the 11th time this season that the Bobcats have won by one run. Coach Trout attributes the fight to the team’s dedication and toughness.
“These guys work hard,” Trout said. “They put in a lot of time and effort; they’re never gonna lay down on Friday night, especially at our home field. They are competitive and tough guys. A really good baseball game, just glad we found a way to win it.”
The Bobcats look to continue their momentum in their next matchup in game two of their three-game series against the Panthers Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Bobcat BallPark.
Featured Image by Beau Kelly.
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