Hard luck is translating into hard times for the Texas State baseball team, which lost two of three to Lamar at Bobcat Field over the weekend and fell two games further behind in the Southland Conference West Division.
The Bobcats (24-18 overall, 14-7 Southland) salvaged the final game of their series against Lamar with an 8-1 win Sunday afternoon. Zack Tritz ran his record to 8-1, scattering eight hits in a nine-inning performance.
Texas State hitters continued their assault on opposing pitchers. Thomas Field, Elliott Babcock and Adam Witek each chipped in with two hits and two RBI. The Bobcats scored single runs in the first and second innings, all they would need as Tritz shut down Lamar.
The Bobcats started their weekend trailing Texas-San Antonio by only a game in the Southland West, though the match-ups this weekend figured to work for UTSA. The Bobcats were set to play Lamar, which is contending for the East Division title, while UTSA played Sam Houston State, which is trying to hang on in the West.
UTSA, winners of nine straight, put up a three-game sweep against Sam Houston, improving its record to 32-14 and 17-4. By losing two of three to Lamar, Texas State fell to three games behind UTSA. Nine games remain in the Southland schedule, with Texas State and UTSA to play three the weekend of May 15-17.
The Bobcats lost the first two games against Lamar, each by one run in extra innings, increasing their losing streak through the week to four games after Texas A&M and Baylor bombed their pitching staff for 39 runs in two games. Re-entering Southland play, the Bobcats then lost to Lamar, 5-4 in ten innings Friday night and 9-8 in ten innings Saturday.
Texas State went off to a roaring start in the Friday game against Lamar, scoring twice in the first inning on a walk to Field, a double by Babcock and a single for Laurn Randell. Witek’s home run in the third inning game Texas State a 3-0 lead as starting pitcher Mike Hart cruised through the early innings.
But Lamar bounced back with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, then took a 4-3 lead with two runs in the eighth. Texas State came back to force extra innings in the ninth, when Randell walked, took second on Witek’s single, advanced to third on a hit batsman and scored on a single by Spenser Dennis.
Lamar won the game in the tenth inning after Logan Pace walked and Tyler Link reached on Babcock’s two-base error, putting runners on second and third. Brian Taylor’s sacrifice fly drove in Pace to give Lamar a 5-4 lead.
The Bobcats hit three singles in the tenth, but couldn’t tie the game. After Paul Goldschmidt singled with one out, Lamar reliever Tim Erickson picked Goldschmidt off first base for the second out. Lance Loftin and Randell followed with singles to put runners on first and second, but Witek struck out to end the game.
Hart completed eight innings for Texas State, allowing seven hits and striking out eight. He left the game trailing, 4-3, but took no decision.
The Bobcats absorbed another tough loss Saturday night in a see-saw 9-8 decision. Trailing, 5-1, entering the bottom of the fifth, Texas State scored seven runs to take an 8-5 lead. However, Lamar rallied with two in the eighth and one in the ninth to force extra innings at 8-8, then scored a run in the tenth to win it.
Field and Witek keyed the fifth-inning heroics for Texas State, as Field hit a two-run double and Witek hit a two-run triple. The Bobcats scored their seven runs on six hits while Lamar helped out with a walk, a fielding error and a wild pitch.
In the sixth inning, Lamar turned to reliever Brian Needham, who pitched five shutout innings for the win. After Lamar tied the game in the ninth, pinch hitter Jeff Vickers doubled to drive in David Moore from second base for the winning run in the tenth. Needham set down Texas State in order to finish the game. Texas State reliever Josh Walter took the loss for the second straight game, falling to 3-3.
Texas State returns to action Tuesday night against Texas in Austin (6:05 p.m.). The Bobcats travel to Stephen F. Austin for three games next weekend, starting a ten-game road swing. They don’t return home until a May 16 date with UTSA.