College Baseball: Texas State's rally falls short in 4-3 loss to UL Lafayette
From Staff Reports
MOBILE, Ala. — There’s something about Texas State and early morning games in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
After the Bobcats started off slow before completing a comeback victory over Western Kentucky in Wednesday’s tournament opener, Ty Harrington’s team nearly followed the same script Saturday versus UL Lafayette.
Texas State’s rally came up short, however, as the Ragin’ Cajuns held on for a 4-3 victory in the semifinals of SBC Tournament at Stanky Field in Mobile, Ala. With the loss, the Bobcats were eliminated from the conference tournament and finished the 2014 season at 30-28.
“I felt like my guys’ effort was good,” Harrington said. “They were ready to go today and battled to keep the season going. We gave them some opportunities early and they took advantage of them. When you get to games like this against arguably one of the best teams in the country — and one of the best offenses in college baseball — those mistakes hurt you.”
Texas State committed three errors in Saturday’s tilt, including two in the second inning when UL Lafayette plated three runs to take a 3-0 lead.
Caleb Adams put the Ragin’ Cajuns on the board with a solo homer off starter Dylan Bein in the second — then the Bobcats misplayed back-to-back ground balls for two errors. Blake Trahan made Texas State pay with a two-RBI triple to give the tournament's top seed a 3-0 lead.
The Bobcats responded with a run in the third on an RBI ground out by Cody Lovejoy, which scored Cody Perkins and cut the deficit to 3-1.
In need of a shutdown inning to keep the game close, Bein settled down to post back-to-back scoreless frames.
“Dylan did a good job and battled through some errors,” Harrington said. “He held his composure and was able to still make pitches when he needed to.”
The freshman right-hander finished 5 1/3 innings, during which he held UL Lafayette to four runs (two earned) and five hits. Bein struck out two and walked two.
After Bein pitched into some trouble in the sixth by allowing a single and an RBI double, which gave the Ragin’ Cajuns a 4-1 lead, Harrington turned to Hunter Lemke to shut down the tournament’s No. 1 seed. Lemke was up to the task as he struck out Kyle Clement and jammed Michael Strentz for the final out of the sixth.
The senior reliever twirled 3 2/3 scoreless innings.
“He (Lemke) came into a jam (in the sixth),” Harrington said. “Garrett (Mattlage) made a big defensive play. Hunter pitched exactly like we needed him to. He controlled the run game and commanded his pitches.”
Similar to last Wednesday’s contest versus the Hilltoppers when Texas State scored three runs in the ninth and one more in the tenth in an eventual 4-3, extra-inning victory, Harrington’s team again created some late-inning drama.
With a 4-1 deficit in the eighth inning, the Bobcats got two runners on as Perkins led off with a single and Lovejoy was hit by an 0-2 pitch from UL Lafayette reliever Ryan Wilson. Mattlage followed with an RBI double to score Perkins. Texas State plated another runner on a wild pitch as Lovejoy scored to cut the No. 4 seed’s deficit to 4-3.
“Garrett had a great at-bat with the double,” Harrington said. “He gave us an opportunity to tie the game there.”
The Bobcats never drew any closer as Austin O’Neal grounded into an inning-ending double play.
• Joe Vozzelli