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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’s offense shines in opening season series

Texas+State+junior+outfielder+Ben+McClain+%284%29+makes+a+run+for+first+base+during+a+series+against+Utah+Valley%2C+Sunday%2C+Feb.+20%2C+2022%2C+at+Bobcat+Ballpark.+The+Bobcats+won+the+series+3-1.

Texas State junior outfielder Ben McClain (4) makes a run for first base during a series against Utah Valley, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022, at Bobcat Ballpark. The Bobcats won the series 3-1.

Texas State Bobcats (3-1) won their first series of the season against the Utah Valley Wolverines (3-1), forcing run rules in two of their three wins.
With the first game of the season still in the balance, score tied at 3-3, in the bottom of the eighth inning, senior infielder Wesley Faison stepped into the box with junior infielder/outfielder Jose Gonzalez in scoring position with no outs.
“I was really just trying to think middle of the field and move him over, but luckily he left one hanging and I put a good swing on it,” Faison said.
That swing resulted in a two-run home run over the left-field wall for Faison, which made it 5-3. That would be the final score until senior right-handed pitcher Tristan Stivors locked it down in the top of the ninth for Texas State’s first victory of the season. Stivors also pitched two scoreless innings.
The Bobcats cruised through six innings as junior right-handed pitcher Zeke Wood, who got the start, held Utah Valley scoreless through six innings pitched, with the defense behind him stellar throughout. Wood also finished with a career-high 12 strikeouts and took a no-hitter into the top of the seventh, where the Wolverines broke it up with a leadoff base hit by sophomore infielder Garrett Broussard.
Additionally, an RBI single by senior infielder/outfielder Mitch Moralez, a sac fly by junior catcher Copper Handen and an RBI single by junior first baseman Brody Ponti tied the game for an inning and a half.
The ‘Cats offense may not have been able to take advantage of all their opportunities but slugged throughout. Faison finished the game going 3-4 with two doubles to go along with a two-run homer.
Multiple diving plays by senior infielder Dalton Shuffield and a catch along the netting by freshman infielder Daylan Pena kept the Wolverine offense in check for most of the game.
After the Bobcats took game one of four, the two teams lined up for a twin bill. The Texas State and Utah Valley baseball teams split the two games. The Bobcats won the first 14-4 in eight innings, and the Wolverines took the second, 5-3.
The first game of the two started off as an offensive slugfest as the two teams scored 15 runs combined in the first four innings. The Wolverines struck first in the top of the first inning, plating two runs. The Bobcats would match the score at the bottom of the frame.
In innings, two, three and four, the Bobcats outscored the Wolverines 9-2 to hold an 11-4 lead entering the fifth.
The two teams wouldn’t be able to find another run until junior infielder/outfielder Jose Gonzalez grounded out to second to bring Shuffield home in the bottom of the seventh. The Wolverines had no answer as freshman infielder Ryan Leary blasted a two-RBI double to right field to walk the Bobcats off on a run-rule against Utah Valley.
The second game of the two began a short, 45 minutes later with the Bobcats in position to clinch the series in game three but would fall short to the Wolverines 5-3.
Through seven innings, the Bobcats and the Wolverines were dead-locked, 1-1, in a pitching duel. The starting pitchers for the two teams gave up only one earned run between the two of them, a home run on sophomore right-handed pitcher Levi Wells from Wolverine sophomore infielder Kayler Yates.
The Wolverines opened up on offense, plating four runs in the top of the eighth. The runs would be enough to hold the lead through the last two innings to pick up the first win of the year for Utah Valley.
Texas State’s offense exploded in the series finale, giving it a series win and momentum on its opening week.
Texas State struck first in the bottom of the first inning with a pair of RBI singles by senior outfielder John Wuthrich and Pena.
Utah Valley answered back with two runs of its own in the top of the second inning, thanks to an RBI groundout by Hansen and a wild pitch by Texas State starter sophomore right-handed pitcher Tony Robie.
After that, the game would prove to be all Texas State. Robie tossed three scoreless innings after his second inning blip before being relieved by junior right-handed pitcher Matthew Nicholas, finishing Robie’s day at a solid 5.0IP, 2BB, 5H, 4Ks, 2 ER.
“That was big,” Texas State Baseball Head Coach Stephen Trout said of Robie’s performance. “For Robie, it’s all about sinking the baseball and getting after it.”
Utah Valley’s starter junior left-handed pitcher Cole Yocum did not provide the results his team hoped for. He was relieved by sophomore left-handed pitcher Coop Rust with two outs in the third inning after allowing an RBI double to Texas State senior infielder Justin Thompson. Texas State scored two more runs in the inning off a two-RBI single by senior infielder Cameron Gibbons, making the score 5-2 Bobcats.
Another run would not be scored until Shuffield hit a home run that scored himself and Faison, who reached on an error that would’ve ended the inning. This capped off the series for Shuffield who finished his day going 3-4 with three hits, two RBIs, two runs and his second home run of the series.
The Texas State offense continued its pace in the bottom of the eighth inning where the Bobcats had eight men come up to the plate. A barrage of RBI singles by Pena and junior catcher/outfielder Peyton Lewis was followed by an RBI groundout by Gibbons, making the score 11-2 Bobcats.
The inning and series were capped off by a long home run from senior outfielder Isaiah Ortega-Jones, which effectively run-ruled and walked off the Utah Valley Wolverines.
“He’s been a spark plug for us,” Shuffield said. “I’m really proud of that guy.”
Texas State (3-1) will play its next game against Wichita State (0-3) at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday night at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Head Coach Stephen Trout said his team is excited to play in a major league facility.
“We get in those moments and it’s about slowing our guys down, not speeding them up,” Trout said. “We’re gonna play a really good Wichita State team, so it’ll be fun.”

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