College Baseball: Bobcats bite back

Texas State sophomore Ben McElroy, CSUB second baseman Oscar Sanay and shortstop Tyler Shyrock all look toward the umpire for a ruling after a slide (Photo by Gerald Castillo).

Sooner or later, Texas State junior Austin O’Neal found a way to get back at his best friend Saturday afternoon.

Even though O’Neal sat for most of the 5-2 win over CSU Bakersfield due to a unfavorable righty-righty matchup, his two-run, two-out, pinch-hit single put the Bobcats ahead for good. O’Neal’s close friend, Scott Brattvet, was the Roadrunners’ starting pitcher.

“I really wanted to get some hacks off him (Brattvet), but he knows I got him,” O’Neal said.

Other than a quick squat on his way up to the plate, O’Neal entered the game completely cold in a big situation.

Texas State just pushed across the go-ahead run after three consecutive walks (on 12 consecutive balls) and a throwing error by CSUB right fielder Chance Gusbeth, which advanced men to second and third with one out. Sophomore shortstop Garrett Mattlage struck out and O’Neal fell behind 0-2, but got just enough of a pitch from Taylor Aikenhead to dump the ball into shallow right field.

“I didn’t get much off it, but it found some grass,” O’Neal said. “It got us two runs, so that was pretty sweet.”

Given how the Bobcats (19-23, 10-7 WAC) pitched against the Roadrunners’ (29-15, 12-5) potent offense, they must like their chances to earn yet another Western Athletic Conference series win come Sunday.

Right-handed freshman Lucas Humpal earned his first weekend start and scattered six hits in five innings. Once Humpal sat down, four pitchers (Covey Morrow, Scott Grist, Donnie Hart and Hunter Lemke) tossed four scoreless innings.

“I was really pleased with the pitching part of it, to hold them down,” Texas State head coach Ty Harrington said. “We did a really good job of throwing against a team that’s really offensive.”