College Baseball: Bobcats complete sweep of Georgia State with 4-1 win
By TYLER MAYFORTH
Sundays hadn’t treated Texas State well in recent memory.
After an undefeated streak to start the season, the Bobcats fell back to Earth these past few weeks and struggled to close out a weekend series. Then again, that was before Lucas Humpal and Hunter Lemke decided enough was enough and pitched like only they knew how.
Humpal and Lemke went back to work this afternoon and nearly put eggs across the scoreboard on Easter Sunday. The duo combined for a three-hitter and Texas State completed the sweep of Georgia State with a 4-1 win.
“Our guys played with a good confidence today,” said head coach Ty Harrington, who saw his Bobcats improve to 22-17 overall and 11-7 in the Sun Belt Conference. “Sometimes you get that from being at home. Sometimes you really get that confidence when you’re getting great pitching.
“When you’re seeing guys competing out there like Hump and Hunter did — and putting as many zeroes on the board as they did — it makes it easier for everybody else because they feed off it and want to get them the win.”
Humpal only blanked the hot-hitting Panthers once before Texas State’s offense came through with two runs in the first inning and staked him to a 2-0 lead. Garrett Mattlage and Granger Studdard continued their strong weekends (combined 9 for 21) as they each had run-scoring singles.
“I’m pretty sure every time we score in the first three innings, we probably win,” Mattlage said. “It helps out a lot to keep the dugout involved in the game and takes pressure off the guy on the mound.”
With room to work, Humpal attacked a lineup that came into this weekend’s series with the second-best batting average in the conference. Humpal didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning, induced 13 ground outs and struck out six.
“I really felt good with my fastball,” Humpal said. “I kept it down and worked it on the corners. I wanted them to hit on top of my fastball, because I knew the defense would have my back.”
Humpal only made one mistake, which Chase Raffield hammered for his 10th home run of the season and his league-leading 47th RBI, but other than that Georgia State didn’t stand a chance.
“His pitch count was great, which showed you they (the Panthers) never got a good read on him,” Harrington said. “When he’s down in the zone like that and his breaker is good, he can slow some barrels down.”
Once Humpal recorded the final out of the eighth inning and threw his final pitch, there was no doubt in Harrington’s mind who’d come out for the ninth. Based on how he threw the previous afternoon, Harrington turned to Lemke and gave the senior a shot at breaking Jeff McVaney’s school record for career saves.
“We have to have him — that’s just the bottom line,” Harrington said of Lemke. “We have to have someone out there who can get those hard three outs. For him to bounce back was important and I wanted him to do it again.”
Outside of a leadoff single by Nic Wilson and a wild pitch, Lemke looked true to form. Lemke got the next three batters to ground out and once Tanner Hill squeezed the final out, the record was his and the Bobcats finished the sweep.
“This was big-time,” said Lemke, who now has 16 career saves. “It all helps, especially with what’s happened the past few weeks with us. Now we feel like we have some momentum.”