Texas State is out of the Southland Conference baseball tournament after blowing an 8-3 lead heading to the bottom of the eighth inning Friday before losing, 9-8, to Southeastern Louisiana.
The Bobcats began Friday’s tournament schedule in a large hole after an 11-7 loss Thursday to Lamar in the winner’s bracket. The loss meant the Bobcats would have to have beaten SLU today, then bounced back with two wins against Lamar.
But Texas State appeared to be all but done with the first of those tasks when it held a five-run lead this morning, needing to record only six more SLU outs to take their shots at Lamar. Instead, SLU scored two in the eighth and four in the ninth. Only two of SLU’s ninth-inning runs were earned as the Bobcats made one fielding error, threw a wild pitch and hit a batter in the final frame.
The bullpen was never a strength this year for the Bobcats, and they ended their season because of it. Texas State finishes its baseball season 30-27 overall and 20-13 in the SLC. SLU improved to 31-26 and 17-5.
The Bobcats took a 1-0 lead Friday on an unearned run in the second inning. In the third, Lance Loftin singled in two runs, giving Texas State a 3-0 lead.
After SLU tied the game, 3-3, with a three-run third, Texas State came back with two in the fifth on Ben Theriot’s two-run single, then scored twice more in the sixth on Bret Atwood’s ground out and Thomas Field’s single. Texas State increased its lead to 8-3 with Theriot’s sacrifice fly in the seventh.
But the wheels came off, starting with SLU’s home half of the eighth. Phillip Freeman’s two-run single brought the Lions within 8-5. The Bobcats still appeared to be comfortably ahead with that lead going to the bottom of the ninth, but discomfort emerged quickly.
Josh Walter came in to relieve Steven Siers for Texas State to begin the inning. The first batter Walter faced, Jordan D’Arnesbourg, reached on an error by Texas State second baseman Adam Witek. After Cass Hargis singled, Brandon Street smashed a three-run homer tying the game, 8-8. Street also hit a two-run homer in the third.
After Josh Cryer singled for SLU, Texas State replaced Walter with Aaron Taylor. But Taylor immediately threw a wild pitch, moving pinch runner Will LeFever up to second. After a single by Brian McCants pushed LeFever to third, the Bobcats intentionally walked Xavier Qualls to load the bases with one out.
Chris Ernst hit a ground ball to shortstop and Field threw home for the force on LeFever. The Bobcats were almost into extra innings with two out and the bases loaded. But Taylor then hit Andrew Hickman with a pitch, forcing in McCants from third base with the winning run.
The Bobcats lost Thursday’s winners bracket game to Lamar, which took a 9-0 lead through five innings, mostly due to a six-run fifth.