Texas State pitching staff steps up for series win

Texas+State+senior+infielder+Cole+Coffey+and+junior+infielder+Justin+Thompson+jump+to+celebrate+a+4-3+win+over+Stony+Brook%2C+Sunday%2C+Feb.+16%2C+2020%2C+at+Bobcat+Ballpark.+Photo+credit%3A+Kate+Connors

Texas State senior infielder Cole Coffey and junior infielder Justin Thompson jump to celebrate a 4-3 win over Stony Brook, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020, at Bobcat Ballpark. Photo credit: Kate Connors

Colton Mcwilliams

Texas State baseball opened their season with a series win over the weekend, going 3-1 against the 2018 America East Champions Stony Brook in a four-game home series Friday-Sunday.

The ‘Cats jumped out to a 3-1 season start with a 4-3 win on Friday, a split on Saturday with a 6-0 shutout and 3-2 loss as well as a 4-3 comeback win to clinch the series on Sunday.

A three-run seventh inning by Texas State and eight strikeouts by senior starting pitcher Wes Engle were the difference-makers on Sunday as the Bobcats knocked off the Stony Brook Seawolves frdpiyr trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning to win the weekend series.

Trout said that rebound runs kept the Bobcats in the game and motivated to make a comeback.

“We talk about rebound runs,” Trout said. “Every time they score on us, we want to score back, so they (Stony Brook) scored three and we came back with some big hits.”

Although the Bobcat offense came alive in the seventh inning, it was the Texas State pitching staff that held down the Seawolf offense on Sunday and throughout the weekend.

The pitching rotation stepped up to the plate, shutting the Seawolves down to just 2.24 runs during the four-game stretch.

Trout said that the sweep was largely due to the team’s excellent defense.

“It couldn’t be more fun for our pitchers and our defense,” Trout said. “We made one error in four games which is hard to do, our guys did a phenomenal job throwing strikes… when our guys can throw the ball like that, we are going to win a lot of games.”

One of the MVPs of Sunday’s game was Engle, who did not receive the win but pitched 4.1 innings with a career-high eight strikeouts, zero walks and zero earned runs.

Trout said Engle’s calmness on the mound was important in the game and was something needed as they start their season,

“I thought he did great,” Trout said. “He was Wes, he was throwing strikes and keep (Stony Brook) off balance. Most importantly he showed his composure. That’s what we need. We had that last year with Connor Reich on Sunday and it’ll be nice to see that in (Engle) on Sundays getting a lot of wins.”

Another starting pitcher that made a lot of noise was RHP Trevis Sundgren, who threw seven innings with six strikeouts, two hits and zero earned runs in the Bobcats’ 6-0 win on Saturday.

The team made history as regular-season Sun Belt Champions in 2018, a feat largely due to senior pitchers Connor Reich, Hunter McMahon and Nicholas Fraze. With three holes in the pitching rotation and a first-year attempt for new head coach Steven Trout, uncertainty arose in the starting spots throughout the offseason.

Trout said that the pitching staff showed great potential in their season opener as they try out each player and test their depth.

“Every guy made a quality start,” Trout said. “I am excited where we are as pitching staff, of course, we got another game on Wednesday that we will see some guys in. We are starting to build some depth and most importantly starting to build some trust in them.”

With an important series win against the Seawolves, the Bobcats will look to build off their series win and hope to work on their offensive struggles.

Senior second baseman Jaxon Williams said the team’s offensive performance will come along just as the pitching staff has.

“As of right now we are at a good pace,” Williams said. “Pitching is throwing a lot more strikes than last year and not a lot of walks. We will get the bats rolling better than this weekend.”

Texas State will go on the road to battle Houston Baptist on Wednesday before heading back to San Marcos to host a weekend series against Lamar.

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