The Texas State baseball team has won its second straight Southland Conference championship. Texas State sports information graphic.
The Texas State baseball team entered the 2010 season needing to replace numerous key components.
Among them were first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, the school’s all-time top home run hitter. Then there was catcher Ben Theriot, who killed opposing running attacks. And last year’s ace starter, Kane Holbrooks. All went pro last summer, after the Bobcats won the Southland Conference regular season title and went to the NCAA Tournament.
But the remaining players picked up the pieces this season, eeked out wins and, finally, prevailed Saturday to win their second straight regular season league league title with an 8-6 win against Texas-Arlington at Bobcat Field.
The Bobcats scored five times in the bottom of the eighth, breaking a 3-3 tie for an 8-3 lead. Then, pitching ace Carson Smith endured a scary ninth inning, allowing three runs before inducing one of the Southland Conference’s top hitters, Michael Choice, into a ground out to end the game with the bases loaded.
So, the Bobcats will go to the Southland Conference Tournament in Corpus Christi this weekend as the top seed, finishing the regular season 23-10 in the league and 34-20 overall.
“We were able to get some things late,” Texas State head coach Ty Harrington said. “To get a championship was big for this team … It’s a big moment for us.”
After an error, a wild pitch and two intentional walks loaded the bases for Texas State in the bottom of the eighth, Jason Martinson broke a 3-3 tie with a two-run single. Later in the inning, Andrew Stumph hit an RBI single and Shaun Garcia drove in two runs with a single.
The inning was somewhat indicative of the difference between this year’s Texas State team and last year’s outfit.
“Last year, we knew (Goldschmidt) would hit a home run for us to put us back in a game,” Texas State outfielder Bret Atwood said. “This year, we didn’t know who it was going to be and we chipped away.”
Said pitcher Garret Carruth, who changed roles during this season from starter to middle reliever, “We definitely had a lot of little ball this year.”