Bobcats roll past Roadrunners
When Texas State hits and pitches like it did Tuesday night, Ty Harrington’s young team is going to be tough to beat. All the Bobcats need to do now is find a way to do it consistently.
Texas State sent a warning shot across the bow of the Western Athletic Conference with a 6-0 victory over league-leading Texas-San Antonio in a rare non-conference game against a conference opponent. It extended the Bobcats’ winning streak to three games and put a halt to the Roadrunners’ four-game run.
“For us, this was an important game whether it was UTSA or whoever it was,” Harrington said. “It was important for us to come out and carry a little momentum we grabbed last weekend.”
Texas State (5-7) entered the game with the Roadrunners fresh off a weekend where it took two of three games from Northern Kentucky, a program in its first Division-I season. Outside of a miserable collapse in last Friday’s game, where the Bobcats allowed six runs in the ninth inning of a 6-5 loss, Harrington’s bunch handled business and outscored the Norse, 29-13.
UTSA presented Texas State a tougher challenge, as it sat atop the WAC standings at 9-3 and led the conference just about every hitting category imaginable thanks to star outfielder Daniel Rockett’s strong start. Rockett, the WAC’s best hitter to date, missed Tuesday’s game due to several reasons (WAC-mandated, one-game suspension after an ejection in Sunday’s game; continued investigation into his role in an off-campus assault of a fellow student Monday night).
Even though Rockett’s absence robbed the Roadrunners of a potent bat in the middle of their lineup, the Bobcats’ pitchers weren’t going to allow much with or without him in there.
Harrington sent six pitchers to the mound — led by senior starter Mitchell Pitts — and each did their job admirably. Pitts, less than a year removed from Tommy John surgery, held baffled UTSA with his precision and senior Covey Morrow, redshirt freshman Jeremy Hallonquist and junior closer Hunter Lemke combined to throw 4 1/3 innings of one-hit ball.
“When you throw a zero up, you’re doing something special,” Harrington said. “We attacked the zone all night and were able to command off-speed pitches.”
Texas State also came through in the clutch with its bats.
With the Roadrunners still in striking distance down two runs, sophomore Ben McElroy delivered a staggering blow with a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double to put the Bobcats up 5-0. McElroy, who missed the first eight games of the season with a quadriceps injury, now has five RBI off three hits this season.
“To be able to come in and make that kind of impact after sitting on the bench after a while feels good,” McElroy said. “I was sitting, hoping for a fastball right down the pipe and got it.”
Texas State needs as much momentum as possible as it heads to Corvallis, Ore. this weekend to face No. 4 Oregon State.