College Baseball: Longhorns slide past Texas State

Texas State sophomore first baseman Ben McElroy slides into second base during Tuesday night’s 5-3 loss to Texas. McElroy went 2-for-3 at the plate for the Bobcats in the game.

AUSTIN — No matter the season, Texas State has chances to end its recent misfortune against Texas.

Like clockwork, the Bobcats squander those opportunities and lose yet another game to the Longhorns. Such was the case Tuesday night at UFCU Disch-Falk Field when Texas State failed to execute in a 5-3 loss, its 17th consecutive defeat to Texas.

It could have easily been a 5-3 win by the Bobcats, but senior outfielder Morgan Mickan and sophomore designated hitter Colby Targun couldn't put down a pair of safety squeezes and sophomore shortstop Garrett Mattlage, who batted third, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and left two men in scoring position.

“As the game went on, I thought we had some offensive opportunities … but it just didn't work out for us,” Texas State head coach Ty Harrington said. “It was disappointing that we didn't execute well in those situations.”

Despite a rough start in which they fell behind 3-0 after the first inning, the Bobcats fought their way back as redshirt freshman pitcher Jeremy Hallonquist settled down.

Hallonquist, who made only his second start in the last three years, allowed three runs on four hits in the first. Then Hallonquist located his sinking fastball and retired 10 of the last 13 Longhorns he faced.

“I made sure to start out each batter after that first inning with first-pitch strikes,” Hallonquist said. “Getting ahead is big.”

Once Hallonquist held Texas in check, Texas State's ever-evolving offense began to wake up.

After getting no hits through their first eight at-bats, the Bobcats tallied two in the third and another in the fourth to tie the game at 3-all. Mickan delivered a key knock with a two-out, two-run double.

“You get down a little bit, but you have to keep fighting,” Mickan said. “There's still a ton of game left and what we try to say is, 'Win the inning' and that first inning is in the past, so we just try to keep trucking and put up some runs in the next eight.”

Opportunities presented themselves for Mickan and the rest of the offense to come through again, but it wasn't going to happen. Mickan's failed bunt came in the fifth inning and later grounded out to the Longhorns' shortstop, who gunned senior outfielder Kevin Sah out at home, while Targun failed to get the ball down an inning earlier with senior third baseman Nick Smelser at third.

Texas, however, pulled through with consecutive hits in the sixth and seventh to break it open. C.J. Hinojosa and Alex Silver finished with two RBI for the Longhorns.

Texas State returns home for a three-game set with Seattle University beginning Thursday night. Due to the Easter holiday, the Bobcats will play Thursday, Friday and Saturday.