Huntsville, TX – A 6 a.m. wake up call gave the Texas State Bobcats the extra push they needed to crush four Southland Conference Tournament records with in the 22-2 seven-inning run-rule victory over Texas-Arlington Wednesday morning at Sanders Stadium.
With the Bobcats first round victory, their next game is slated for 4 p.m. against the winner of East Division rivals Lamar and Southeastern Louisiana.
“The preparation for this game started long before we arrived at the field,” said head coach Ty Harrington. “Our focus was where it needed to be two days ago and I will be very surprised if that same focus isn’t there again after that performance.”
The shows stars came from Mike Hart pitching a solid six innings on the mound and holding UTA to just two runs off seven hits, and a defense that kept ten Mavericks stranded on base.
Texas State’s bats stayed hot from the beginning of the game after Thomas Field drew a lead-off walk to open the game. Paul Goldschmidt rapped out the first hit of the inning with a one-out single through the right side to plate Field and Texas State’s rally never slowed. Lance Loftin and Adam Witek hit mirrored singles up the middle and Ben Theriot dropped base hit into left field to aid the ‘Cats five-run first inning.
Hart maintained his edge on the mound to keep UTA scoreless, including a retired side in the top of the fourth. But by that time the ‘Cats had raised its total to seven and closed out the bottom of the fourth with four runs.
In the bottom of the second Field and Randell belted back-to-back singles with one out and a ground out put the two into scoring position. Loftin capitalized on the situation with a two-run hot hit up the middle to give Texas State the 7-0 edge.
In the bottom of the fourth, the top of the ‘Cats lineup prevailed again, with an infield single from Field to jump start the inning. Goldschmidt was issued a walk for a two-man diamond and Lofin rapped a second base hit between second and short for an 8-0 game. Mark Picca was brought in to relieve a struggling Ryan Robinson, but the Bobcat bats were too hot to tame. Adam Witek placed a single into left field and Spenser Dennis closed out the inning with a left-line double for the final two RBI.
The ‘Cats tacked on the 12-0 tally when Bret Atwood scored after drawing a lead-off walk in the bottom of the fifth.
UTA managed their lone two runs in the top of the sixth, but Texas State answered back with an SLC record claiming ten-run inning. Elliott Babcock led off the high-scoring affair with a base hit over the pitcher’s head that was followed by seven hits, including a three-run homer from Ben Theriot.
“I didn’t know it was going over, but once it did I was pretty excited,” said Theriot. “This win set the tone for the rest of the tournament and coming in hot like this can only help us.”
Theriot finished the day with a 3-for-5 outing and a league-record seven RBI.
All but one Bobcat notched a hit in the record-setting 24 hit tally and seven notched multi-hit games.
All told, the ‘Cats set three team records, runs scored in an inning, most hits in a game and most runs batted in, along with Theriot’s individual record.
UTA shuffled through four pitchers in the losing effort. Robinson was tagged with the loss.
By AMBER ARTERBERRY
Assistant Sports Information Director
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