The Texas State Bobcats closed out the regular portion of their baseball season Saturday afternoon with a 10-8 win at home against Texas-San Antonio, putting the Southland Conference tournament later this week into a whole new light.
Though UTSA (38-17 overall, 22-8 SLC) easily won the league’s regular season championship, the tealeaves suddenly don’t predict an easy ride for the Roadrunners through the tournament.
Not only has UTSA lost five of its last ten games after a torrid run through April, but the Roadrunners also split this season against second-seeded Lamar and lost two of three to third-seeded Texas State. Furthermore, UTSA lost two of three this year to its first-round tournament opponent, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Texas State twice put up ten runs this weekend against UTSA, suggesting that the Roadrunners’ pitching staff could be vulnerable in a double-elimination tournament setting.
Texas State (29-25, 19-11) will open the tournament at Sam Houston State Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. against sixth-seeded Texas-Arlington (26-29, 16-14). No. 2 Lamar (32-21, 20-10) will play No. 7 Southeastern Louisiana (29-25, 15-15) at noon, top-seeded UTSA will play eighth-seeded Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (14-15-1) at 3 p.m. and No. 4 Sam Houston State (33-23, 18-12) will play No. 5 Northwestern State (28-26, 17-12) at 7 p.m.
The Bobcats battered four UTSA pitchers Saturday. Of course, Texas State pitching wasn’t especially stellar, giving up 12 hits, but the Bobcats pitchers summoned enough to squeeze out of further damage, stranding 14 UTSA base runners.
Lance Loftin led the Texas State attack, going four-for-five with two home runs and four RBI. Adam Witek went three-for-four with two RBI, both coming on a fourth-inning double that gave the Bobcats a 2-0 lead.
UTSA came back with three in the fifth with RBI singles by Trent Lockwood, Aaron Powell and Jose Hernandez. But the Bobcats came right back to take a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the fifth on Loftin’s three-run homer.
Powell matched Loftin in the top of the sixth with a three-run homer for a 6-5 UTSA lead as the game began surging back and forth. Texas State regained a 7-6 lead in the bottom of the sixth on run-scoring singles by Aaron Fuller and Paul Goldschmidt. The Bobcats gave themselves much-needed insurance in the seventh when Ben Theriot hit an RBI double and Witek scored on a wild pitch, increasing the Bobcat advantage to 9-6.
UTSA came to within 9-8 in the eighth on a double by Ryan Rummell and Hernandez’ run-scoring single. But Loftin’s homer in the eighth brought the Texas State lead back up to 10-8.