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Bobcats look to make return trip to NCAA Tournament

Sophomore second basemen Chase Mora looks for an encore season during 2024 campaign for the Bobcats. Mora was selected to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Preseason All-America Second Team.
Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo

Bobcats look to make return trip to NCAA Tournament

Senior pitcher Tony Robie is back with the Bobcats for the 2024 season as one of 18 seniors.
Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo

Bobcats look to make return trip to NCAA Tournament

Sunday, February 11, 2024

The Bobcats have hit the baseball diamond this past week as Texas State prepares for the 2024 season.

Entering his fifth season as head coach of the Bobcats, Steven Trout is thrilled to see his team on the field coming off a 2023 season finishing 3623 but missing the NCAA Tournament. Texas State was also selected to finish fifth in the conference, according to the Sun Belt Coaches Pre-Season poll.

“I’m excited for this group,” Trout said. “There are a lot of new guys in the program, but it starts with our 18 seniors. They have a lot of leadership and have been through the battles. So it is fun to watch these guys become an extension of the coaching staff. … So, really excited about that part of it then the talent this team has.”

One of the 18 seniors on the team is pitcher Tony Robie who finished the 2023 season with a 5-4 pitching record in 12 starts and 20 appearances along with an ERA of 4.33 and 48 strikeouts.

Despite the Bobcats missing out on a NCAA Tournament bid last season, the expectations of the Texas State program remain high.

“It’s the same as it has been for the last two years,” Robie said. “Execute at a super high level consistently, control what you can control and stay in the present moment.”

For Robie, having a senior heavy roster will have an important impact on the Bobcats especially when it comes to victories.

“It’s hard to win, which is something you learn when you get older,” Robie said. “Having experience in winning games is important. At the end of the day, it’s challenging to win games especially [in the Sun Belt], so having guys that have won at other places, won here, and been around the game long enough is an advantage for sure.”

When talking about the pitchers, the added amount of arms to the rotation and the bullpen will be another factor in Texas State’s success.

“As a staff we are a lot deeper for sure,” Robie said. “We have a lot of physical dudes with an advanced understanding of how to pitch. It’s fairly difficult to do, so I feel we have a lot of depth and a lot of guys that are going to get us outs.”

On the offensive side of the ball, Slam Marcos will look to be running at full power with sophomore second baseman Chase Mora leading the charge.

Mora had one of the best freshman seasons in Texas State history hitting a freshman record 17 home runs while becoming the first player in NCAA history to hit a home run in his first three plate appearances. Mora also broke the record for most home runs in a single game hitting four against North Dakota State.

Mora was on the 2024 All Sun Belt Preseason team and was selected to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Preseason All-America Second Team.

As for an encore for his sophomore year, Mora is wanting to keep where his feet are.

“Just stay in the present moment,” Mora said. “It is still about coming out here every day and grinding to get better. So just not getting ahead of myself, staying in the present moment, and keep battling.”

Though the Bobcats never lacked in power last year, Texas State’s approach to the plate is an area the ‘Cats look to improve on, especially limiting the times they strike out.

“The biggest thing was the strikeouts,” Mora said. “Last year there were certain moments where we needed a hit but we fell behind or struck out. That was the biggest thing Coach Trout and [Coach Cervantes] was preaching was staying in the middle of the field and working on a two strike approach. So in those bigger moments when we need that hit, we come through with it.”

Another key both Mora and the Bobcats will look to improve on is trying to avoid being content.

“Definitely not getting complacent,” Mora said. “Everyday you have to come out here and keep going. When we beat Texas last year, it was a big moment for us but we didn’t let it carry over. And we got stuck in that moment. From there we have to continue to build and not be complacent in the moment. You have to come out here, grind everyday and forget about what we did yesterday.”

With the Bobcats having multiple players in both the infield, the pitching rotation and the bullpen, Trout is excited to see the team in action in a tough non-conference slate with games against Texas, Texas A&M, TCU, LSU, Houston, and Kentucky.

“This is a very deep team,” Trout said. “We will see what happens when we get to the battles and see how it works out. But from an everyday basis, we are deeper at every position than we have ever been before. There are a lot of options on the mound, so we will have to figure it out as fast as we can during these [non-conference] tournaments and try to win them all before conference.”

Texas State will open the regular season at home against the Youngstown State Penguins of the Missouri Valley Conference in the three game series.

The first game is slated to start Friday at 6 p.m. with the second game scheduled for Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

The third and final game is set for Sunday at 11 a.m.

cmcwilliams Twitter: @ColtonBMc

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