By Chris Riley
Assistant Media Relations Director
Texas State Intercollegiate Athletics
Bobcats Rally for 8-6, Eight-Inning Win to Sweep UTSA in Doubleheader
Boatright fuels five-run comeback in game two after Bobcats’ 5-1 game one win
SAN ANTONIO – Down 6-5 with the bases loaded, a full count and two outs in the top of the seventh, Jill Kloesel took a pitch high for ball four that forced in the tying run against UTSA and completed a five-run Bobcat comeback. After Elizabeth Dennis pitched a scoreless inning in the bottom of the seventh, Leah Boatright blasted a two-run home run over the scoreboard in left centerfield in the eighth for the eventual game winner as Texas State (25-11, 15-2 SLC) completed a doubleheader sweep over the Roadrunners (18-17, 13-7).
The 8-6 win followed a 5-1 Bobcat victory in game one and provided plenty of drama for fans of both teams in the Southland Conference rivalry series between the two teams at the top of the conference standings.
Boatright opened the scoring in the first when her hard ground ball went under the glove of two UTSA defenders and rolled all the way to the wall to score Alex Newton from first and give Texas State a 1-0 lead. It would be short-lived, as the Roadrunners bounced back with a two-out rally in the second that seemed to give UTSA a comfortable lead.
An RBI double by Whitney Balch tied the game before Kelly Cato singled in another run to give UTSA a 2-1 lead. After an infield hit loaded the bases, Leanne Risberg hit a sharp grounder to Jenna Emery at third. Emery went home with the throw but threw wide, allowing a run to score as the bases remained loaded. Danye Holmes followed with an RBI ground out that made it 4-1, and Krista Sitka capped the inning with a two-run double to left center that chased Texas State starter Katie Garnett out of the game.
Down 6-1, Texas State came back in the third inning behind Boatright. Kloesel hit a lead-off single before Kristina Tello walked, setting the table with two on for Boatright, who sent a deep fly ball to right field that hit the top of the fence right at the home run marker but fell back onto the field for an RBI double. Although barely missing a home run that would have made it 6-4, Texas State still trimmed the lead to 6-2 on the hit.
After a scoreless fourth inning, déjà vu happened for the Bobcats. Newton and McKenzie Baack drew back-to-back walks to bring up Boatright, who drove another deep fly ball off the wall with one out for her second RBI double of the game. The run would be the only one of the inning Kelsey Cammarata pinch hit to try to add to the inning but flew into a double play when Baack was thrown out trying to score from third on a shallow fly ball to left.
The score remained 6-3 until the seventh when Janeille Nickels came on to try to record her second save of the season. Newton led off the inning with a single, and Baack drew another walk to bring up Boatright with two on for the third straight at bat.
Once again, Boatright delivered, this time doubling to left center for another RBI to cut UTSA’s lead to 6-4. Taylor Hall then drove in another run with a single, bringing Texas State within a run with only one out. Amanda Nikolenko, who started the first game of the day, relieved Nickels to try and record the final two outs but walked Emery to load the bases.
When Ashton Peters stepped in and sent a high pop up just beyond the infield dirt by second base, Texas State looked to have caught another break when three Roadrunners converged on the ball but none made the catch. However, a quick throw home be centerfielder Leanne Risberg barely beat Boatright, who had to hold at third to make sure the catch was made, for a key force out that pushed momentum back in UTSA’s favor. Kloesel then stepped in, delivering a 10 pitch at bat that resulted in her game-tying walk,
Boatright’s homer in the eighth came after Baack reached on a fielder’s choice, and Dennis worked around a two-out single in the bottom of the inning to close out the win.
Dennis (3-0) pitched 6.1 innings of shutout relief in earning her third win of the season, scattering three hits and two walks. Garnett lasted 1.2 innings, giving up six runs, two of which were earned, on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Nikolenko (10-10) took the tough loss after giving up two runs on two hits with two walks in 1.2 innings.
In game one, both teams struck early and got on the board in the first inning. Tello reached on an error at third before moving to second on an illegal pitch. Newton sacrificed Tello to third, and another illegal pitch forced in the game’s first run to give Texas State a 1-0 lead.
UTSA got the run back when Sitka singled up the middle to drive in Rudi Cantu, who singled to lead off the inning. With the score 1-1, both pitchers quickly worked through the next two innings before more miscues in the fourth.
Baack poked a one-out single to left and stole second, but Nikolenko got a key second out with a strikeout. Jetta Weinheimer followed with a hard grounder back to Nikolenko in the circle, and Nikolenko overthrew first to score Baack and keep the inning alive. Taylor Hall then reached on an infield hit before another error, this time by the third baseman, loaded the bases for Ashton Peters. Peters delivered a single to centerfield, scoring two runs and giving the Bobcats a 4-1 lead.
A lead-off walk and another single by Sitka brought the tying run to the plate with nobody out for the Roadrunners in the bottom of the fourth, but Ragan Blake induced a line out to center before striking out Whitney Balch for the second out. Kourtney Jones hit a grounder to the circle, and Blake’s lob to first pulled Kloesel off the bag. The error loaded the bases, but Blake bounced back with a strikeout to end the threat and preserve the Bobcats’ lead.
Blake went on cruise control after that, retiring the final seven batters in order. Baack added a solo homer in the top of the seventh for another insurance run as Texas State claimed the 5-1 win.
Blake (11-8) finished the game with one run on three hits, walking two and striking out seven in the complete game victory. Nikolenko took her first of two losses on the day, allowing two earned runs on seven hits with six strikeouts.
The Bobcats and Roadrunners conclude their series on Saturday with a 1 p.m. start in San Antonio.Email | Print