Now, they wait.
The Texas State softball team entered this weekend’s Southland Conference Tournament on their own field as the favorite after blitzing through the league with a 25-5 record.
A tournament championship would have given the Bobcats the SLC’s automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament. Instead, the Bobcats now have to hope for an at-large selection after a 3-2 loss Friday against Stephen F. Austin in the tournament semifinals.
By every appearance, the Bobcats were about to beat SFA. Ace pitcher Ragan Blake took a no-hitter to the sixth inning, and the Bobcats held a 2-0 lead.
But the game got away very quickly. With one out in the top of the sixth, Kendall Harper reached on a fielding error by Texas State infielder Ryan Kos. A line single to center field by Benet Higgs broke up Blake’s no-hitter. Then, Jessica Tullos slammed a three-run homer, ending Blake’s shutout and, ultimately, turning her win into a loss.
Texas State tried to come back from that sudden 3-2 deficit in the seventh, when Alex Newton and McKenzie Baack singled back-to-back with no outs, putting runners on first and second. But Leah Boatright couldn’t get a bunt down, then a ground out and a strike out ended the inning.
A more successful bunt by Boatright led to both Texas State runs in the fourth inning. With Baack on first after a walk, Boatright bunted and SFA catcher Kim Daley’s throw sailed wide of first. Baack scored all the way from first base and Boatright kept running as the throws came in from right field. In the end, Boatright slid under the catcher’s tag, meaning she went all the way around the bases on a bunt that landed right in front of home plate.
Obviously, it was a day of freak occurrences. The Bobcats (35-18) didn’t need a loss to be among them.