SAN ANTONIO – When the Texas State Bobcats have their baseball bats working, a little bit of pitching goes a long way. Thursday night, the Bobcats had their bats working, and a lot of pitching to go with them.
The Bobcats notched one of their most heartening wins of this season, a 10-3 decision at Texas-San Antonio in the opener of a three-game series one week before the Southland Conference Tournament. The series moves to Bobcat Field for games Friday (6 p.m.) and Saturday (2 p.m.).
Lance Loftin provided most of the Texas State offense with two three-run homers. Mike Hart chipped in with the pitching, a complete game performance that lifted his record to 6-3.
“We had an all-around great night,” Texas State Coach Ty Harrington told reporters. “Our pitching was on, our offense was on and our defense came up with some big plays that helped us win the game.”
With Hart giving up seven hits and walking only two batters in his nine innings, the Bobcats had the game well in hand after three innings.
The win improved Texas State’s record to 28-24 overall and 18-10 in the SLC. UTSA fell to 37-16 and 21-7 with its second straight home loss, the first time that’s happened since Feb 17-18, 2007. UTSA already has clinched the SLC regular season title, leading Texas State by three games with two left to play.
The Bobcats remained tied for second place in the SLC when Lamar (18-10 SLC) scored five times in the last three innings Thursday night for a 5-4 win over McNeese State (7-21). Lamar holds the tiebreaker for over Texas State for second place by virtue of winning two out of three when they played each other late last month.
Texas State scored twice in the first inning after Laurn Randell singled with one out and Loftin walked. Ben Theriot singled to right field, driving in Randell, then Loftin scored on a wild throw by UTSA right fielder Tyler Carpenter.
UTSA quickly came within 2-1 when James Keithley homered to lead off the Roadrunners’ first. But Hart bore down and retired 13 of 15 UTSA hitters into the fifth inning.
Meanwhile, the Bobcats bombed away against UTSA starter Ryan Proudfoot. Loftin hit his first three-run homer on a 2-0 pitch with one out in the third, after Thomas Field led off with a single, took second on a bunt, stole third and Paul Goldschmidt walked.
“I sat on the pitches on that I hadn’t been all season and just went for the ones that looked good. When I hit the first (home run), I knew it was gone and that just set the momentum for the rest of the game,” Loftin told reporters.
Texas State upped its lead to 6-1 in the fourth, when Field singled to drive in Adam Witek from second base.
UTSA crept to within 6-3 in the fifth on back-to-back doubles by Keithley and Tim Palincsar. But that would be it for the Roadrunners.
A four-run eighth for the Bobcats, keyed by Loftin’s second three-run bomb of the night, put the game on ice for Texas State.
Hart retired nine of the last ten batters he faced, closing out the game in style.