The Texas State Bobcat baseball team will play out its final series of the season against the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners beginning Thursday in the Alamo City. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Roadrunner Field and the split-site series will shift to Bobcat Field for the final two contests. Friday and Saturday’s game are slated to begin at 6 p.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.
In the battle between two of the top teams in the league, Texas State will pit Mike Hart against Ryan Proudfoot (7-2, 4.02 ERA) for a right-handed duel. Hart will make his 14th start of the season on Thursday with a team second-best 4.03 earned run average. The league leader in innings pitched with an 87.0 mark has struck out 82 batters to date, an average of nearly 8.5 batters a game and in his last outing on the mound, Hart spent 7.2 innings holding off McNeese State for just two runs on five hits in the 8-2 victory.
A second right-handed matchup on day two will see Steven Siers and Bradley Chovanec lead their respective teams. Siers is 4-1 against Southland opponents, falling only to Stephen F. Austin. The senior has pitched 72.2 innings, including one shutout contest, for an overall 5.45 earned run average. Chovanec leads the conference with two shutouts and will start Friday’s game with a 5.21 ERA and an 8-2 record.
Game three will see a Bobcat-best 3.81 ERA from Zach Tritz face UTSA’s Kris Ruepke. Tritz has notched four complete games in his current 9-2 season for a high-mark in the conference. The Spring native completed last week with a 1.00 ERA after rationing McNeese to just one run throughout the game’s entirety, fanning the side in the final three frames to take the 3-1 win. The left-handed Ruepke boasts a team second-best 4.39 ERA and limits opponents to a .259 batting average.
Equally as challenging off the mound will be the league’s top offenses. Texas State boasts .317 batting average that falls just shy of UTSA’s .318 clip. Sluggers from both teams take over the top ten spots in league categories, including Paul Goldschmidt’s 17 home runs and 146 total bases and Thomas Field’s league-leading seven triples. The Roadrunners offense takes off with a .376 batting average from Michael Rockett, who also leads the league in doubles with 25 and is second behind teammate Trent Lockwood in RBIs with 67 and 70, respectively.
UTSA is 37-15 overall after coming off a run-rule loss to Houston Tuesday night. The Roadrunners 21-6 league record hands the squad sole possession of first place entering the post-season tournament.
With Texas State’s 27-24 overall mark and 17-10 conference record, the ‘Cats will enter the post-season at worst, fifth place.
The all-time series record favors Texas State 36 games to 25. The Bobcats opened the first game of the series with a win last season, but fell in the final two to the rival. However, Texas State caught the ‘Runners in game two of the Conference Tournament with a 9-6 ten-inning victory.
Prior to Saturday’s games, head coach Ty Harrington will pay tribute to Aaron Fuller, Elliott Babcock, Steven Siers, Jerry Cervantes, Eric Weaver and Josh Walter as part of a Senior Recognition ceremony in their final game at Bobcat Field.
Live stats will be available via www.TxStateBobcats.com and the series will be broadcasted on 89.9 KTSW FM.
By AMBER ARTERBERRY
Assistant Sports Information Director