Texas State hitters had much to celebrate during a weekend in which they scored 40 runs on 41 hits in a three-game sweep of Penn State at Bobcat Field. Texas State sports information photo.
When they needed them, and when they didn’t, the hits kept coming during the weekend for the Texas State Bobcats, who polished off a three-game baseball sweep of Penn State at Bobcat Field.
Following blowout wins of 20-6 on Friday and 15-6 on Saturday, the Bobcats needed clutch late hitting Sunday to pull out a 5-4 win to complete the sweep. With the game tied, 4-4, going to the bottom of the ninth, Kyle Livingstone walked on four pitches to lead off, moved to second on a sacrifice by Kyle Kubitza, took third on Jason Martinson’s single and crossed on a sacrifice fly by Shaun Garcia.
The Bobcats needed to hit late on Sunday due to a strong start Penn State pitcher Steven Hill, a freshman right hander who the Bobcats tried to recruit out of Colleyville Heritage High School. Hill held the Bobcats to two runs and eight hits in six innings, a Herculean performance by the standards of a Penn State pitching staff that allowed 41 Texas State hits in the three games.
Texas State left hander Lee Colon gave up only one earned run on three hits in his seven-inning start. However, right hander Carson Smith, in one of his less prosperous appearances of the season, allowed two runs in two innings and still picked up his first win of the year. Smith is 1-2.
After Smith’s strong start a week ago at Texas, where he threw shutout ball for the first six innings, Texas State coach Ty Harrington said it’s very likely that Smith will move into the weekend rotation, probably taking right hander Brian Borski’s place on Saturday’s. Harrington said he will talk with Borski and try to work out what his role will be.
Borski has the most experience to be the Tuesday starter, though he might also be useful in the bullpen. Six different Texas State relievers worked in the Penn State series, combining to allow five runs in 9 1/3 innings.
The Bobcats won the series opener, 20-6, on Friday night, banging out 15 hits. Among them were homers by Livingstone, his fourth of the year, and Andrew Stumph, his second. The Bobcats scored six times in the fourth and six more times in the seventh. Stumph’s grand slam enabled him to finish the game with five RBI, despite a one-for-six performance.
Texas State ace Michael Russo pitched well enough for the win and raised his record to 2-0, allowing four runs in six innings.
The Bobcats scored seven runs in the fifth inning of their 15-6 win on Saturday. Among 15 Texas State hits were home runs by Martinson, his second, and Garcia, his first.
Texas State upped its record to 8-6 with the three wins. The Bobcats go to Texas Tech for a game Tuesday night, then play a challenging three-game series at Sam Houston State next weekend.
Through the Penn State series, Livingstone has risen to the top of the Texas State offense, leading the team in hits (21), runs (19), batting average (.375), home runs (four), RBI (15). slugging percentage (.661), total bases (37), stolen bases (seven) and on-base percentage for players with at least 35 at-bats (.438).
Four other Texas State hitters are over .300 — Garcia (.333), Bret Atwood (.333), Stumph (.316) and Tyler Sibley (.316). Martinson is second on the team with 14 RBI. He and Stumph each have two homers. The Bobcats have raised their team batting average 60 points in the last ten days to .281. But opponents also have raised their average to .294.
The Bobcats appear to be in good shape with a likely weekend starting rotation of Russo (3.16 ERA), Smith (3.38) and Colon (3.20). However, the bullpen remains to be settled.
While the Bobcats played out of the Southland Conference during the weekend, Southeastern Louisiana and Stephen F. Austin moved ahead, each at 3-0, after three-game sweeps. The Bobcats, Northwestern State, Sam Houston State and Nicholls State all are 2-1.
Penn State lost its last seven games of a spring trip to Texas and fell to 4-8 overall.Email | Print