Texas State’s baseball team easily won the first two games in a three-game set against Southeastern Louisiana to fix first place in the Southland Conference.
Saturday, when the Bobcats had to do it the hard way in the final game, they did it that way, too.
The Bobcats scored twice in the bottom of the eight inning, turning their 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 lead. Michael Russo then pitched a shutout ninth inning for his fifth save of the year.
Texas State slugger Paul Goldschmidt, who homered in every game of the series, blasted an 0-1 pitch from Southeastern relief ace Chris Franklin over the left field wall with one out and no one on in the eighth, tying the game, 3-2.
Then, the Bobcats kept working on Franklin, who helped out a lot by walking Keith Prestridge and Kyle Kubitza and hitting Spenser Dennis with a pitch. With the bases loaded and two out, Ben Theriot walked on a 3-2 pitch, forcing in pinch runner Adam Witek from third base with the winning run.
“Personally, it is what I anticipated for this game,” Texas State coach Ty Harrington. “I knew (Southeastern Louisiana) would come out and play as hard as they could, and they did. We responded well in the second half of the game and did what we needed to do to beat this team, and we did.”
The Bobcats solidified their hold on first place in the SLC at 13-5 in the league and 23-10 overall. Southeastern fell to 10-8 and 20-13.
Texas State entered the weekend in a flat-footed tie for first place with Southeastern. Three days later, the Bobcats hold a two-game lead over Sam Houston State and Texas-Arlington, which both are 11-7 in the league. Northwestern State is third at 10-7, while Southeastern is tied with Lamar in fourth place at 10-8, three games back.
Brian Borski took the start for Texas State and kept his team in the game, leaving a 2-2 tie with one out in the sixth inning. Lance Loftin pitched 2 1/3 innings for the win and improved to 2-0 this season.
All three Texas State pitchers threw strikes. Of 146 pitches thrown, 91 went to the strike zone. Relievers Loftin and Russo were especially sharp, combining for 30 strikes out of their 45 pitches.
Though Southeastern Louisiana totaled ten hits, the Lions couldn’t score more than one run in three different innings.
The Bobcats play Houston Baptist Monday night at Bobcat Field (6:30 p.m.), then Prairie View A&M at the same location Wednesday night (6:30 p.m.) before playing three this coming weekend at Northwestern State, which is 16-15 overall.