Levi Wells prepares to deliver the pitch in Wells’ latest start for the Texas State Bobcats. In his first start since his injury, Wells threw six innings and allowed just two hits, no runs, and threw nine strikeouts in the Bobcats 5-1 win over the North Dakota State Bison to complete the sweep.
Daily Record Photo by Gerald Castillo
Bobcats defeat North Dakota State for sweep
Texas State closed out a wild weekend of baseball as the Bobcats pulled off the three game sweep of the North Dakota State Bison with a 5-1 win one Sunday and a 19-18 win on Saturday.
Coming into the series on a two-game losing streak, the sweep was a major boost to team morale including senior outfielder Jose Gonzales, who finished the game with three RBIs.
“It means a ton,” Gonzalez said. “After losing like that, it can make your confidence a little weary. But we had three solid well fought games against a very good team. Their record doesn’t show how good that team is.”
After a chaotic two games which saw both the Bobcats and the Bison combine for a total of 52 runs, the third and final game flipped the script by turning into a pitcher’s duel.
This led to head coach Steven Trout having to switch the strategy up on scoring runs.
“It was a completely different game with the wind,” Trout said. “With it blowing straight in, you have to go back to playing small ball and a little bit more execution of the offense. But to me it all started on the mound.”
It was a rough week for the Texas State pitching staff who gave an average of 11.8 runs per game over the last four contests.
But the Bobcats rallied through in Sunday’s game allowing just one run and stranding seven Bison runners.
Sunday also saw the return of senior pitcher Levi Wells who captured his third win of the season after throwing six innings and allowing just two hits, no runs, and throwing nine strikeouts.
“He threw the ball really well,” Trout said. “He was out in front and was ahead of the hitters in the count … I challenged those pitchers so that we had to dictate the at-bat and understand that hitting is hard. They did a good job of staying ahead and executing.”
Though the days leading up to his return were rough, Wells was able to power through.
“Coming off of an injury was mentally tough all week,” Wells said. “I just needed to trust the process and trust that I was going to be better day by day. Trying to buy into that was the toughest thing but I kept my head involved. I’m still getting better day by day but I’m glad to be back.”
With an excellent outing on Sunday, Texas State now looks to keep up their momentum by being aggressive on the mound.
“Our coaches have been emphasizing staying ahead in the count and attacking the plate,” Wells said. “It’s about executing our pitches rather than being timid … our game plan moving forward isn’t to change anything but execute our pitches to stay ahead.”
In the second game of the three game series, it was a record day for freshmen sensation Chase Mora who hit a program record four home runs in a game.
“It’s been about staying within my approach,” Mora said. “We have been working on it during the week and I got out of it last weekend. It’s about hitting towards the middle of the field and going in the opposite field. It paid off today.”
Even Trout was surprised by Mora’s outing.
“It’s unbelievable,” Trout said. “He keeps surprising you and you think it’s over but then he does something else. We have been working hard on Chase going the other way and then his first home run goes to the opposite field … hopefully he continues this for the next game and the next.”
But the drama didn’t start until the 9th inning when North Dakota State hit a grand slam to take a 18-17 lead.
But rather than crumble, the Bobcats bowed up.
“We didn’t lose hope,” Ramirez said. “We have nine guys in the lineup who could really swing it. It was just the matter of who wanted it more at the end.”
With Gonzales taking the lead-off walk, Ramirez sent the Texas State faithful home happy with a walk-off two-run home run for the win.
“They called a big timeout right there,” Ramirez said. “I knew it was going to be down and away so I was looking for a fastball on the outer half. I got my pitch and took a good swing on it.”
Being this was Ramirez’s first walk-off home run, it was a moment he will cherish forever.
“This was my first one,” Ramirez said. “So it was definitely one I will never forget. It’s a cool feeling touching home plate and everyone’s around you.”
Texas State returns to play at home today in a midweek showdown with #11 TCU Horned Frogs.