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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

“When you’re playing bad it’s contagious”: Texas State baseball plagued by inconsistency in 2024

Mandalyn Lewallen
Texas State senior pitcher Jonathan Martinez (45) pitches the ball during the game against Texas, Wednesday, April 10, 2024, at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in Austin.

When Texas State junior third baseman Aaron Lugo hit a go-ahead home run in the ninth inning against the University of Texas at Minute Maid Park on March 2, optimism for the future of Bobcat baseball in 2024 was at an all-time high.

However, since then, the Bobcats have struggled, going 13-16 and 7-9 in conference play.

“It’s just baseball,” Head Coach Steven Trout said. “When you’re playing well, you’re playing well. When you’re playing bad, it’s contagious.”

Various factors have contributed to Texas State’s inconsistencies in 2024. Here are the reasons the Bobcats’ have struggled thus far:


Slumping Stars

In 2023, senior infielder Davis Powell led Texas State in batting average with .337, followed by Chase Mora with .316.

On April 19 against South Alabama, Mora and Davis hit eighth and ninth, respectively, in the lineup.

This season, Mora is hitting a .230/.307/.351 slash line (batting average/on-base/slugging percentage), and Powell is hitting .232/.380/.304. Other players have stepped up their game to compensate for the slumping middle-infield duo, but winning is challenging when the most counted-on players become holes in the lineup.

Both players have shown glimpses of their 2023 selves, with Powell still reaching base at a high rate and Mora being named the 2024 Astros Foundation College Classic Most Outstanding Player.

If Texas State wants to make a deep run in the Sun Belt Championship, it will likely depend on Mora and Powell returning to form.


Inconsistent Pitching

Pitching was the central concern for Texas State entering the 2024 season after the Baltimore Orioles selected Texas State’s main inning-eater of 2023, Levi Wells, in the fourth round of the 2023 MLB draft.

The Bobcats’ less-than-ideal ERA is 5.57. It’s not a pretty number, but it’s fifth-best in the Sun Belt Conference.

Many Texas State pitchers performed well this season so far, but the staff’s lack of consistency contributed to the teams’ struggles. Redshirt junior Austin Eaton, senior Drayton Brown and sophomore Sam Hall have started most conference games on the mound.

While all three pitchers have impressed, they are still susceptible to an occasional disastrous outing.

Hall threw a complete game allowing one run against James Madison on March 23. However, his ERA since then is 13.50. Eaton and Brown have earned and remained in starting positions, but Eaton is 1-3 in his last four starts, and Brown allowed five runs in 3 ⅓ innings against Louisiana-Monroe on April 14.

Additionally, the returning players with the most games started in 2023, senior Tony Robie and redshirt senior Peyton Zabel, are struggling in 2024; Robie has a 7.71 ERA in 30.1 innings, and Zabel has a 5.91 ERA in 21.1 innings.


Key Injuries

Freshman center fielder Ryne Farber and senior southpaw pitcher Jack Stroud missed huge chunks of the 2024 season due to undisclosed injuries, contributing to the Bobcats’ losing record.

As a freshman, Farber has arguably been the best player on the team. Although his injury has limited his sample size compared to his teammates, the freshman phenom leads Texas State in batting average and on-base percentage with .373 and .505, respectively.

Farber first missed a game due to his injury on March 23 against James Madison University before pinch-hitting the next day. The at-bat on March 24 was his last for until April 19.

Texas State had a record of 14-9 before Farber suffered the undisclosed injury. Since his injury, the Bobcats have gone 5-10.

The 19-year-old immediately made an impact in his return on April 19, collecting three hits and two RBIs en route to Texas State defeating South Alabama.

On March 5 against Tarleton State, Stroud suffered an undisclosed injury, likely related to his pitching arm, and did not see the field again until April 9 against the University of Texas. In 2023, Stroud was among the most counted-on arms out of the Texas State bullpen, posting a solid 3.56 ERA in 48 innings.

The void left by Stroud’s injury may not be as apparent as Farber’s, but Texas State undoubtedly missed his arm. Since returning to the mound, Stroud has hurled two scoreless innings, allowing just one hit, no walks, and two strikeouts.

“I feel like we’re finally starting to get healthy,” Trout said. “That’s the key; you want to keep those guys consistently [healthy] to keep it rolling.”

With Texas State in the middle of a three-game win streak and Farber and Stroud back on the field, there are reasons to be optimistic, regardless of the team’s struggles.

“Baseball is a weird sport,” Trout said. “You want to keep that momentum in your dugout and keep it rolling as long as you can.”

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