San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

April 9th, 2008
Bobcats struggle with state powers

By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large

While Texas State leads the West Division in the Southland Conference baseball standings, the Bobcats continued their struggles against the major Texas powers Tuesday night with a 5-3 loss to Texas at Dell Diamond.

The Bobcats have yet to pull off a calling card victory this year against a statewide NCAA Tournament contender. They have lost two of two against Texas, they’ve lost two of two against Texas Christian and they’ve lost their only meeting against Rice.

For what it’s worth, the Bobcats also have lost their only game this year against Houston, which visits Bobcat Field tonight (6:30 p.m.).

On the bright side, Texas State is 17-5 against teams other than Texas, Texas Christian, Rice and Houston.

Sometimes, the Bobcats lose to statewide tournament contenders because they don’t hit, sometimes they lose because they don’t pitch, and sometimes they lose because they don’t do either. Tuesday night, the Bobcats didn’t hit or pitch for the first six innings, leaving themselves short with a late rally.

Through six innings, Texas State trailed, 5-0, with only one hit. The Bobcats finally broke through for two runs in the eighth on doubles by Elliott Babcock, Thomas Field and Laurn Randell. Texas State scored once more in the ninth, but didn’t mount a game-threatening rally.

Bobcats ace Mike Hart started and pitched only one inning before giving way to Zach Boles. The Longhorns hammered Boles for four runs and seven hits in four innings.

Third baseman Lance Loftin led the Texas State attack with a two-for-four night. Loftin doubled in the ninth and scored the Bobcats’ final run by taking third base on a wild pitch and coming across on another wild pitch.

But the Longhorns neutralized Texas State first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who leads the team with 10 homers, 37 RBI and a .705 slugging percentage. Goldschmidt finished the night zero-for-four, though he led off the seventh inning by reaching on an infield error. One out later, Loftin singled to left, moving Goldschmidt to second and apparently stoking a rally as the Bobcats trailed, 5-0. However, Jonathan Farrow bounced into a double play to end the threat.

Despite Texas State’s shortcomings against the major contenders in Texas, the Tuesday loss means nothing in the Southland Conference race. The Bobcats have won five in a row and seven of their last eight in the league, barely holding first place in the West Division with a 9-3 Southland record. Texas-San Antonio is right next to them at 8-4.

The Bobcats will face UTSA for the season’s final series May 15-17, with the first game in San Antonio and the next two in San Marcos.

Texas State has an opportunity to improve its position in the next two weekends with series against Southeastern Louisiana (6-6) and Central Arkansas (3-9), neither of which has a winning record in the league. During those same two weekends, UTSA goes to Northwestern State (10-2) and Lamar (9-2), which are fighting for the East Division lead.

The Texas victory Tuesday night gave Head Coach Augie Garrido his 500th at the school, making him only the second coach to reach that level with two different college programs. In addition to his 500-242-1 record at Texas, Garrido also won 929 games at Cal State-Fullerton on his way to 1,651 career wins. Jim Morris, who crossed 500 wins at Georgia and Miami, beat Garrido to the achievement.

Despite the celebration for Garrido, the Longhorns are struggling in the Big 12. Failure to put away Kansas and Texas Tech with sweeps turned into a more serious problem when Nebraska won two of three in Austin two weekends ago. Now, the Longhorns are 7-5 in the Big 12, third place, 3 1/2 games behind Nebraska with the conference season nearly half finished.

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