Texas State’s offense hasn’t been a model of consistency throughout the 2013 season.
Such was the case Friday night, when the Bobcats slipped past Louisiana Tech for a 1-0 win in the series opener.
But Texas State turned it around in big fashion Saturday, collecting 12 hits in a 9-5 win over the Bulldogs at Bobcat Ballpark.
The victory marked only the second time this year Texas State won the first two games of a three-game series, allowing the Bobcats (13-22) to stay in the thick of the Western Athletic Conference title race with a 7-4 conference record.
Junior Austin O’Neal led the way for the Bobcats, driving in three runs. O’Neal clubbed a two-run home run, his first with the team, in the bottom of the sixth.
“His offensive performance was really good and I was really pleased with the at-bats he gave us,” Texas State head coach Ty Harrington said. “When you can hit the balls in the gap and score runs with one swing, that’s great. He has the capability to do things like that and hopefully today’s performance will give him more belief in himself.”
The Bobcats trailed 4-2 before erupting with five runs in the bottom of the sixth, thanks to a bases-loaded walk, J.D. Stinnett’s two-run double and Cody Lovejoy’s two-run single.
La. Tech was first on the board with Bre’Shon Kimbell’s solo home run in the top of the second, before the Bobcats took the lead with a pair of runs in the third after consecutive, two-out RBI singles from senior designated hitter Andrew Stumph and O’Neal.
The Bulldogs rallied back with two outs in the top of the fifth thanks to and infield single, a triple and a two-base error by Bobcat shortstop Garrett Mattlage for a 3-2 lead, then added another two-out run in the top of the sixth after Ryan Gebhart’s liner was too high for Stinnett to field at second base.
A five-run sixth by Texas State made it 7-4 and LA Tech answered with another run to close it to 7-5.
But O’Neal’s homer in the bottom half of the inning put the proverbial nail in the coffin, plating Mattlage and handed the Bobcats a 9-5 lead.
“I was just out there trying to put a good swing on something and it went off my bat, I thought it was going to be a sac fly, but thankfully it wasn’t,” O’Neal said. “I was sitting for an off-speed pitch and he threw me a change-up, but I certainly wasn’t trying to hit it out.”
Austen Williams (1-3) picked up the win after giving up four hits and two runs in to innings pitched. Grist allowed just one earned run on six hits with four strikeouts.
The Bobcats will strive for their second WAC series sweep in today’s game at noon.