It was a disappointing end to the softball season Friday night for Texas State when the Bobcats lost to Stephen F. Austin 3-2 at Bobcat Field. The ‘Cats came into the tournament as the #1 seed after having won the regular season championship. It was the first time since 2002 that Texas State had won the title. The Bobcats end their season 37-18 and 25-6 in conference play and 16-4 at home. SFA entered the tournament as the #4 seed but was the only conference team to win a series against the Bobcats this year.
Texas State lost 2-1 and 7-2 before winning the final game in Nacogdoches 2-1 in 8 innings. With tonight’s loss, SFA was responsible for ½ of the Bobcats conference losses for the season. In a tournament highlighted by upsets the 4th seeded Stephen F. Austin team will play the 6th seeded Nichols State team for the championship tomorrow.With pitcher Ragan Blake in the circle, the Bobcats looked to have a good chance of victory.
In the 1st inning, Blake held SFA hitless and gave up no runs. In the top of the 1st, the Bobcat batters went down in order including 2 strikeouts. The 2nd inning did not produce any runs, hits or base runners as both teams went down in order. SFA got a runner to 2nd base in the 3rd inning on an error and a stolen base but Blake struck out a batter to end the inning. Texas State managed their first hit of the game in the 3rd when Jill Klosel hit a 2 out single but the next batter struck out to end the inning. All three Bobcat outs in the 3rd inning were by strikeout. After 3 innings, the score was 0-0.
Blake recorded 2 more strikeouts in the 4th and put SFA down in order. The Bobcats batters finally got things going in the bottom of the 4th and put up 2 runs on 2 hits. McKenzie Baack got things started with a 2 out walk. Leah Boatright followed her with a single and then advanced all the way home on a throwing error. Baack also scored on the play. At the end of 4 innings, Texas State led 2-0. Blake continued to dominate in the 5th and once again sat SFA down in order. The Bobcats could not get anything going in the 5th after getting a leadoff walk.
SFA got runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out in the 6th when their 1st baseman hit a 3 run blast to left field and all of the sudden SFA was leading 3-2. Blake got out of the inning but the damage was done. In the Bobcat 6th, Alex Newton started things off with a single and then advanced to 2nd on a single by Baack. Newton was able to get to 3rd on a stolen base while Baack advanced to 2nd with 2 outs. Both batters were stranded though as the next batter struck out. Going into the 7th inning, SFA led 3-2.
SFA got a 2 out single in the top of the 7th but was unable to score to give the Bobcats one last chance behind by only 1 run. Two groundouts and a fly out ended the game and SFA advances to the championship.
This game was very similar to the way they opened up the season at home when they hosted the Texas Longhorns. Blake was cruising along and the game appeared to be headed to a Bobcat victory until a late inning home run gave the other team the victory. It was another first round setback for Texas State women’s sports. The basketball team also lost in the first round after winning the regular season championship.
Even with the loss, the Bobcats had a great season and Texas State fans should make plans to see them next year. Congratulations to all the players and coaches.
Score by Innings R H E
Stephen F. Austin… 000 003 0 – 3 3 1
Texas State……… 000 200 0 – 2 5 2
By MICHAEL WRIGHT