College Softball: Texas State upset by UT Arlington in first round of SBC Tournament
From Staff Reports
LAFAYETTE, La. — Texas State has won and lost by its all-or-nothing offense.
The Bobcats can score runs in bunches because of their home-run prowess. When the ball isn’t leaving the yard, however, Texas State struggles to plate runners in scoring position and is susceptible to striking out.
Such was the case in the Bobcats’ 5-1 loss to UT Arlington during Wednesday's first round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament at Lamson Park in Lafayette, La. The loss ended Texas State’s season and dropped their overall record to 26-30.
After the Bobcats swept a three-game series versus the Mavericks last weekend — they won by a combined score of 23-4 — Ricci Woodard’s team had plenty of confidence. UTA had lost six consecutive conference games entering Wednesday’s tilt.
So when Texas State jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a Coralee Ramirez sacrifice fly in the first inning, everything seemed to point to an easy win for Woodard’s team.
The eighth-seeded Mavericks battled back — they tied the game at 1-all in the second and took the lead in the fifth inning — as the fifth-seeded Bobcats stranded nine.
“We left too many runners on base,” Woodard said. “As I told you yesterday, the team that played the best was going to win. They played better than us today.”
UTA didn’t do much better as it also left nine on base.
Texas State starting pitcher Ashley Wright, who picked up the loss after surrendering four hits and three runs, worked out of several jams, including a bases-loaded situation with one out in the first inning. Wright finally ran out of luck or guile in the fifth inning after issuing her sixth walk of the game.
Following the free pass, Nina Villanueva laced an RBI triple down the right-field line to plate Shelbi Sikes and hand the Mavericks their first lead of the game at 2-1.
“Walks usually come around to score,” Woodard said. “That’s what happened today.”
Ramirez, who patrolled right field, didn’t help Wright out by failing to keep the ball in front of her on Villanueva’s triple. The senior outfielder went into a slide and ball bounced to the wall.
Sensing that the game might be getting away from her team, Woodard turned to her best pitcher in Rayn House.
UTA sophomore Jolene Schaefer promptly welcomed the senior pitcher into the game with another triple and the No. 8 seed led 3-1.
The Mavericks tacked on two more runs in the sixth inning and by that point a comeback didn’t seem to be in the cards for Texas State.
Three days after the Bobcats faced UTA’s Callie Collins — and scored 9 runs on 12 hits off Collins — Woodard’s team looked baffled at the plate against the senior, especially with runners in scoring position. Texas State was 0 for 10 in those situations.
With the score still tied at 1-all in the third inning, the Bobcats had the bases loaded with one out, but Katie Doerre and Delia Saucedo couldn’t hit the ball out of the infield. Collins retired them on back-to-back pop outs.
"We came out agressive and we stuck to our game plan," Mavericks head coach Kristie Fox said. " I thought Callie did a great job and we were able to put runs on the board to help her out."
• Joe Vozzelli