College Softball: Texas State sweeps UT Arlington, eyes rematch in Sun Belt Tournament
Coralee Ramirez picked the perfect day to have her best game of the season.
The senior outfielder launched two home runs — her first two long balls of the season — during her final home game at Texas State. Behind those two homers and the steady pitching of Rayn House, the Bobcats finished off a sweep of the visiting Mavericks with a 9-1, six-inning victory Sunday afternoon inside Bobcat Softball Stadium.
Texas State now knows it will be playing UTA again when the Sun Belt Conference Tournament begins Wednesday in Lafayette, La.
Before the weekend started, the Bobcats had a chance to gain some confidence against the last-place Mavericks and did exactly that with their first conference sweep of the season.
"Today was about building up momentum," Texas State head coach Ricci Woodard said her team improved to 26-29 overall and 9-12 in the Sun Belt Conference. "We're going to turn around and play them (the Mavericks) again."
Throughout the weekend slate, it was the Bobcat bats that showed up in a big way as Woodard's team plated 23 runs. That continued Sunday afternoon when Kortney Koroll and Ramirez hit back-to-back solo shots in the second inning. Koroll launched a no-doubter to give Texas State a 1-0 lead and Ramirez tacked on to make it 2-0.
"I've been swinging the bat really well lately," Ramirez said. "I was just looking for something to drive. I wasn't looking to hit a home run. It was just the cherry on top."
That's all the support House needed as she limited UTA to three hits and one run while striking out six. If there was one blemish on House's day, it was walks. The senior surrendered four free passes, which forced her to pitch in and out of jams.
None of those jams were more perilous than in the top of the fifth inning. With the Bobcats up 3-1, the Mavericks had runners on the corners with no outs. House collected herself and jammed Nina Villanueva for a weak ground ball. The senior pitcher fielded the grounder, threw home and catcher Katie Doerre competed the 1-2-3 double play. Next, House tied up Riley Fira as the freshman catcher popped out for the final out.
A few innings later, House notched her 22nd victory of the season.
"She showed a lot of maturity today," Woodard said of House. "That shows me how far she has come this year. She had herself in a few jams early. Rayn did a great job of working right out of them. "
While UTA's bats were silent, Ramirez remained hot at the plate. The senior outfielder ripped a towering three-run homer down the left field line in the sixth inning to open up the Bobcats' lead to 8-1. Ramirez finished Sunday's game 3 for 4 with four RBIs and three runs scored.
With Ramirez's two-homer game, Texas State has 45 home runs this season.
"The thing about this team is we know if we play our type of ball game — and we play smart ball — we have a chance to beat anybody," Woodard said, "That's a good feeling going into the tournament."