Bobcats rally in 8th for comeback win
Slam Marcos was back on the rails Friday as Texas State connected with four home-runs in eighth innings to pull off a comeback victory with an 8-7 win over the North Dakota State Bison.
After consecutive games where the Bobcats were held to a combined two runs, Friday night was about making consistent contact with the ball for third baseman Ryan Leary, who went 2-4 with two home-runs and three RBIs.
“Going to these at-bats, our approach was much better,” Leary said. “We were not striking out as much or swinging and missing. We were fouling a lot more pitches off and our outs were loud. We kept saying that after every inning that we were just lining out, but still hitting the ball hard. We knew if we kept grinding it out, good things were going to happen.”
With a two-game losing record just behind and trailing multiple times in the game, head coach Steven Trout said he was proud of his team for refusing to give in.
“It’s a big program win,” Trout said. “I thought everyone showed up tonight. It didn’t look great for a little while, but the guys kept fighting. I felt like the guys in the dugout didn’t lose hope and found a way to win.”
The loss to UTSA on Tuesday was a motivation for the team as the Bobcats went back to work.
“Wednesday after the game we just scrimmaged,” Trout said. “I wasn’t happy with the way we played, how we swung the bats, pitched and played defense. I thought, ‘Let's go out there and do it again.’” As Texas State trailed 7-2 in the eighth inning, the Bobcats put runners in scoring position following a lead-off single and walk while advancing on a passed ball.
Senior left fielder Jose Gonzales got the figurative ball rolling with a threerun home run to cut the lead down to 7-5.
The homer was one Leary knew was key, as the score shifted the energy towards the Bobcat dugout.
“I knew it was going to happen,” Leary said. “He was in a big time spot and he is a big time player. Those are the types of things he does and it carries throughout the entire dugout. Everybody felt it.”
Texas State followed up with consecutive home runs by first baseman Daylan Pena and August Ramirez, as the Bobcats tied the game at 7-7.
“It’s just trusting the process,” Leary said. “We work on that every single day. We work on these different things to keep us well rounded in these moments … It was a big time win and a big time effort from everybody in the eighth inning. It was awesome and fun.”
As the Bison got two outs, Leary came back up to bat.
“It was a first pitch slider,” Leary said. “I wasn’t trying to look for it but rather I was just trying to take it to the middle of the field. I got something I could handle and just trusted everything.”
The ball sailed from Leary’s bat to over the left center fence as the Bobcats took their first lead of the game at 8-7 before the pitching staff came up with the final three outs in the ninth inning to seal the win.
As for the return of Bobcat bats, the focus was more on coming up to the plate.
“Our approach was much better,” Trout said. “We worked in the middle of the field and worked the other way. It just showed in the eighth inning what these guys can do” Another change in the Bobcats was the team’s ability to hone in on their skills while also continuing to keep playing despite what the scoreboard said.
“I thought their focus was a little bit better tonight,” Trout said. “They could have easily shut it down seeing we were down 5-0 in the fourth inning and then 7-2. If you are not a tough team or a team just worried about results, you shut it down. But we kept playing and believing. Sometimes wins like this propel teams in the future.”
Texas State returns to play Saturday against North Dakota State at time of press.