After losing Wednesday in the first round of the Southland Conference Tournament in Corpus Christi, the Texas State baseball team has battled back to a position from which it can win the tournament Saturday.
It’s taken a win Thursday and two wins Friday to get there, and now the Bobcats will need two wins Saturday at Whataburger Field to finish the job. Winning by scores of 9-5 against Nicholls State and 5-4 against Texas-Arlington (UTA) Friday in the loser’s bracket, the Bobcats now must beat UTA and Lamar to claim the tournament championship and, with it, the Southland Conference’s automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
The Bobcats will play UTA again Saturday at 1 p.m. With a victory, they would advance to the tournament championship game at 6 p.m. against Lamar.
Kyle Livingstone led the Bobcats in their win against Nicholls State, homering in the fifth inning, his 11th of the season, to break a 4-4 tie and ending the day four-for-five with three RBI. Jeff McVaney and Tyler Sibley each were three-for-four with an RBI.
Mitchell Pitts allowed five runs in 6 1/3 innings to claim the win and improve his record to 6-1. McVaney pitched shutout ball for the final 2 2/3 innings.
Next up for the Bobcats was UTA, who they beat two out of three times last weekend at Bobcat Field to end the regular season. It took a late rally to put the Bobcats over the top against UTA Friday.
Trailing, 4-2, going to the bottom of the seventh inning, Texas State inched closer when Andrew Stumph led off with a double to center field, moved to third on a fly out by Clint Vest and crossed on Laurn Randell’s sacrifice fly.
The Bobcats finished the rally against UTA starter Brian Watson in the eighth. Bret Atwood led off with a single and Kyle Kubitza bunted him to second. Livingstone walked against reliever Calan Pritchard before Jason Martinson singled to drive in Atwood and move Livingstone to second. Another reliever, Garrett Laird, came in and struck out Shaun Garcia, but Stumph singled to center field on a 1-0 pitch, driving in Livingstone from second base to give the Bobcats a 5-4 lead.
Carson Smith, who enterned the game wth two out in the seventh inning, finished off UTA in the ninth, raising his record to 10-4.
The Bobcats and UTA will meet again Saturday because UTA hadn’t lost in the double-elimination tournament until Friday’s game.