Senior pitcher Ragan Blake turned in a spectacular weekend, giving up a total of two runs in three games and leading Texas State to a three-game softball sweep of Sam Houston State.
The sweep clinched the Southland Conference regular-season title for Texas State, which will be the hosting team for the league tournament May 8-10.
Blake (18-10) put the Bobcats off on the right foot with a four-hit shutout in the first game of an April 26 double header, a 1-0 Texas State win. Texas State scored the game’s only run in the first inning, when Kristina Tello singled, took second on a sacrifice bunt, moved to third on a ground out to the right side and crossed on a single by Leah Boatright.
Meanwhile, Blake never allowed a runner past first base until the seventh inning, when Sam Houston State led off with a double. However, that runner never advanced past second.
Game 2 Saturday gave Texas State its clinching victory, a 2-1 win on Blake’s two-hit complete game. The Bobcats scored the winning run in the bottom of the sixth, when McKenzie Baack homered to break a 1-1 tie.
Sam Houston touched Blake for a run in the first inning on Tanya Hooser’s home run, but the Texas State senior shut the door, allowing only one hit the rest of the way. The Bobcats took that run back right away when Tello led off the first with a walk, moved to second on a bunt and crossed on Alex Newton’s double.
The Saturday double header sweep, combined with Stephen F. Austin’s split double header against Texas-San Antonio, gave the Bobcats a 4 1/2-game lead in the SLC with only four games left to play.
The Bobcats could have mailed it in on Sunday, but instead put a 9-1 run-rule thumping on Sam Houston. Blake allowed only three hits, while Texas State hitters scored three runs in the first and six in the third. The game was declared finished after the top of the fifth inning.
Newton, Boatright and Jenna Emery each had two hits for Texas State, while Baack, Emery and Ashton Peters each drove in two runs.
Texas State (33-16 overall, 23-4 SLC) will close out the regular season this weekend with a three-game series at McNeese State.