Photo by Gerald Castillo
Bobcats bounce back, beat Troy twice to take series
Texas State did just as head coach Ricci Woodard said.
The Bobcats (27-21, 15-8 Sun Belt) lost the first game of its series against Troy (35-18, 17-8) on Friday inside Bobcat Softball Stadium, 3-0, all three scores coming in the first three innings. Woodard explained that it took too long for her team to adjust to the visitors, but were evenly matched once they did.
“This game’s kind of like a chess match and it’s whoever makes the adjustments first and then you readjust,” Woodard said Friday. “So, we have to come back tomorrow and make the adjustments first.”
The hosts went on to defeat the Trojans in the final two games of the series, 9-0 in six innings Saturday and 2-0 Sunday.
=Junior center fielder Christiana McDowell led off in the bottom of the first inning Saturday walking on a full count. A sacrifice bunt from senior left fielder Mari Cranek bought McDowell enough time to turn two bases in the next at-bat. Sophomore shortstop Tara Oltmann followed with another walk, then stole second base, putting two runners in scoring position with one out.
Sophomore first baseman ArieAnn Bell brought them both home with a double to left center field, then stole third base. She scored on a single from junior third baseman Hailey MacKay to left field, giving the Bobcats a 3-0 lead. They made the adjustments first.
Both teams went scoreless the next three innings. Texas State ended the game by adding six more runs in the final two frames, resulting in a 9-0 win in six innings and leaving Sunday’s game as the tie-breaker for the series.
It took a while longer to get an edge, but the maroon and gold adapted quicker than Troy again on Sunday. After 4.5 scoreless innings and one out in the bottom of the fifth, junior catcher Haleigh Davis faced a full count. She took the next pitch out of the park, floating a solo home run over the left field fence to take a 1-0 advantage.
Cranek tacked on an insurance run in the sixth, and the team completed the shutout in the top of the seventh to take the 2-0 victory.
Bell and MacKay led the team in game two with three RBIs a piece. The latter earned another in game three, along with Davis. Junior right-handed pitcher Dalilah Barrera (8-4) got the win Saturday, giving up just two hits and four walks without a run and striking out four in four innings. Sophomore righty Meagan King (17-11) picked up her first save of the season closing out the final two innings and received a win Sunday in relief, stonewalling the Trojans for two strikeouts, one hit, no walks and no runs in 4.1 innings.
This weekend marked the final home series of the regular season for the Bobcats. They’ll conclude their schedule on the road with three games at UT Arlington (27-23, 15-9), beginning Thursday at 5 p.m.
Though Texas State already clinched a spot in the conference tournament, currently sitting in third place, a sweep could potentially move the team up to No. 2 and give them an automatic bid to the Sun Belt semifinals. Troy remains in second, one game ahead of the Bobcats. The league tournament begins May 8 at Bobcat Softball Stadium.