Defense holds firm as State splits doubleheader

Photo by Gerald Castillo

College Softball

Texas State’s defense carried over two games.

After dropping the season opener to Abilene Christian, 1-0, and losing out on an 11-strikeout performance from junior pitcher Randi Rupp, the Bobcats rebounded against Texas Tech to come away with a 2-1 win to close Friday night’s doubleheader.

Texas State (1-1) couldn’t afford to waste another opportunity to take the lead against the Red Raiders in the bottom of the fifth. The inning prior, junior Ariel Ortiz was stranded at third as Taylor Webb struck out swinging to for the final out. Texas State had yet to score through its first 11 innings of the 2017 season and that was the best opportunity the team had.

Ortiz stepped up the next inning with the bases loaded, two outs and the game still scoreless.

Head coach Ricci Woodard told the shortstop to look one pitch, either changeup or an inside ball. Ortiz got both on a full count pitch.

The junior advanced the leading run on a walk and an inning later, freshman Haleigh Davis doubled the lead on an RBI-single right through second base. Senior Corrina Liscano scored in from second and beat the tag at the plate.

“We had the hits, they just didn’t come together,” Ortiz said following the doubleheader. “We were waiting for things to come together like we know they’re going to so we just have to keep trusting it that it’s going to happen. Once the hits start coming together then they’re going to be contagious.”

The win didn’t come easy even after taking the 2-0 lead. In the top of the seventh with two outs, Tech cut the lead to one after an error from Webb at first base. What would’ve been the game-clinching out, scored Camaury Washington and loaded the bases. Luckily for the Bobcats, Allison Knopp flew out to Ortiz the next at-bat.

Senior pitcher Jodi Paige Williams picked up the win in a 4-strikeout, 3-hit performance.

“Really going into how this week played out, we were so good offensively and not very good defensively so today was the complete opposite,” Woodard said. “Which is not surprising on day one of the season. I just was proud of the way they battled.

“We went back to trying to hit hard ground balls (against Tech) and felt like we didn’t do a very good job of that in the early game.”

Against Abilene Christian Rupp found herself off to a shaky start. The junior had two full-count walks during the first three at-bats although the team didn’t allow either to score.

“First inning it was kind of slow, but I kind of refocused in the dugout with Coach (Osterman),” Rupp said. “She had some tips for me and going from there on I just kept telling myself just to go one pitch at a time and don’t get ahead of myself. Just make quality pitches and let the rest take care of itself.”

Rupp bounced back and fanned 11 batters and only gave up three hits the rest of the day. The only problem was that Texas State stranded seven runners on base and went 0-for-5 at the plate with runners in scoring position.

In the bottom of the seventh, ACU’s Alli Spivey chipped a single to Rupp with the winning run on second in Tori Poullard. The ball bounced off of the junior pitcher’s foot and rolled away scoring Poullard and handing the Bobcats their first loss of 2017.

“The bottom line is, if you don’t score you’re not going to win and we missed our opportunities in that game,” Woodard said.

The junior pitcher still knows it’s only opening day and kept things in perspective following the loss.

“With that second game today with the win, it put us in a good spot for tomorrow,” Rupp said. “We’re confident and we’ve got a long road ahead of us.”

San Marcos Daily Record

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