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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Baseball takes the diamond against Utah Valley to hit off 2022 season

Texas+State+sophomore+pitcher+Otto+Wofford+%2827%29+practices+his+pitching+during+baseball+practice%2C+Wednesday%2C+Feb.+9%2C+2022%2C+at+Bobcat+Ballpark.

Texas State sophomore pitcher Otto Wofford (27) practices his pitching during baseball practice, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022, at Bobcat Ballpark.

After a disappointing end to the 2021 season, resulting in nine straight losses at the end of the stretch, Texas State baseball has an opportunity to right the ship against the Utah Valley Wolverines. The Bobcats new roster and returning arms will look to get the ball rolling in a four-game home series that will take place Feb. 18-20.
This series will mark the first of 18 consecutive non-conference games to start the season. The Bobcats will play 27 non-conference games total. In 2021, the ‘Cats went 12-21 in non-conference games.
The Wolverines have a completely renewed look to their roster, and most notably, their coaching staff. The first pitch on Friday will mark the division one head coaching debut of Utah Valley’s skipper, Eddie Smith’s career. Smith has taken the helm at Utah Valley after a two-year stint as LSU’s hitting coach.
Utah Valley will also have a similarly optimistic outlook on a new baseball season as it went 10-47 last season and 8-28 in the Western Athletic Conference play. Last season may not be all that familiar to most of the Wolverines, as they will have 20 new players on their roster, including 16 transfers.
While Utah Valley’s lineup may still be configured throughout the first series of the season, the scheduled starter for game one is sophomore right-hander Devin Smith (1-3, 10.22 ERA in 2021). Senior left-hander Cal Beardsley, who pitched against Texas State last season when he played for Little Rock and allowed just one hit in a scoreless inning, will start game two. 
The Wolverines’ leader in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts from a season ago, junior right-hander Mason Gray, will take the ball to start in game three. The final game starter for Utah Valley is yet to be announced.
In the battery, the Wolverines will turn to their veteran infield, beginning with junior third-baseman Mick Madsen to spark the offense, as he drew a team-best 15 walks and a team third-best .266 batting average. Also, Utah Valley’s middle infield for all 57 games a season ago, sophomore shortstop Garrett Broussard and senior second baseman Mitch Moralez, will look to provide leadership to a new team. Moralez was Utah Valley’s leader in batting average with a .274, hits with 62 and runs, scoring 28.
A new season, aided by an additional year of eligibility due to the pandemic for much of Texas State’s veteran leadership, will allow for familiar appearances to the dish with senior outfielder John Wuthrich along with senior shortstop Dalton Shuffield, senior third-baseman Justin Thompson and utility junior Jose Gonzalez, who all look to bring consistently to the lineup.
Newcomers, highlighted by freshman infielder Daylen Pena, will see opportunities to make their way into the lineup and sure up the ‘Cats offense.
The opening day starter for Texas State will be junior right-hander Zeke Wood, who started 14 games last season and went 3-5 with a 4.45 ERA. For the first game of a Saturday doubleheader, junior right-hander Triston Dixon, who has made strides this offseason, will start on the bump. For the nightcap, the Texas Tech transfer, sophomore right-hander Levi Wells is scheduled to start. Finally, for Sunday’s series finale, sophomore right-hander Tony Robie will toe the slab.
First pitch for the 2022 season will be at 6 p.m. on Friday in Bobcat Ballpark and will also air on ESPN+. Saturday’s doubleheader will start at 2 p.m. and live stats will be available on the Texas State Baseball website for all games. The series will conclude on Sunday at 12 p.m. and will be streamed on ESPN+.

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