After losing six of its last eight games, Texas State softball (30-9 overall, 12-5 Sun Belt) bounced back with a sweep against the Georgia Southern University Eagles (11-25 overall, 3-14 Sun Belt) in its three-game series April 24-25.
The Bobcat scoreboard lit up early on in game one as a ground ball from sophomore infielder Sara Vanderford slipped through the glove of the Eagles' shortstop and rolled into left field. This allowed two Bobcats to score through unearned runs while Vanderford advanced to second.
The shortstop's slipup started a series of errors for the rest of the Eagles' game, where the Bobcats stole two bases in run number three alone; senior outfielder ArieAnn Bell managed to steal home while senior outfielder Kylie George stole second during the next at-bat.
By the end of the game, the Eagles garnered five more errors, three by sophomore catcher/utility Janai Conklin, leading her to be substituted later in the game. This led the Bobcats to run away with nine stolen bases while Georgia Southern secured just one.
The Bobcats' fourth run also came from an error by the Eagles' shortstop, when senior infielder Tara Oltmann secured another unearned run. A single down the left-field line from junior catcher Cat Crenek led to the game's first RBIs, earning the Bobcats two more points in the bottom of the fifth.
Freshman pitcher Jessica Mullins kept her team clean for almost the entire game, with two lone hits from the Eagles in the fourth and seventh innings. Even with a perfect game just outside her grasp, in 6.1 innings pitched, 91 pitches thrown and 25 batters faced, Mullins managed six strikeouts and only two walks, avoiding the multiple-run innings of the last two series.
The first game ended through a team effort between Crenek and freshman infielder Baylee Lemons. In a single to center field, Lemons drove Crenek home, securing the Bobcats the final 7-0 winning score.
Texas State effectively carried its momentum from a dominant first game into the latter half of the doubleheader, winning 3-0. Unlike in the first game, however, Georgia Southern made only two errors, allowing the Bobcats to earn all three of their game-winning runs.
Vanderford opened the scoring with a homer to left field on a 3-2 count in the second inning. It was the first hit of the day after the Bobcats' initial three batters went down in the first. In the top of the second, Georgia Southern managed a promising hit but was the team's only hit of the game.
Junior catcher Caitlyn Rogers doubled down the right-field line for an RBI, moving Lemons to third for a score off a sacrifice bunt from George, securing them the 3-0 lead. For the rest of the game, however, the bats would go quiet as no hits registered on either side.
Senior pitcher Dalilah Barrera pitched four innings and earned four strikeouts, walking no batters and allowing the only hit in the 13 batters she faced and 61 pitches she threw. Her replacement, senior pitcher Meagan King, earned a save after pitching three innings with three strikeouts, zero walks, nine batters and 36 pitches. Georgia Southern’s senior pitcher Rylee Waldrep held the mound for the game’s entirety, walking only one batter in 26 faced and 84 pitches.
The series closer on April 25 proved a much tighter game with the Eagles leading the Bobcats 3-2 in hits. A 1-0 victory for Texas State showcased pitching on both sides; King pitched all seven innings, struck out 11 batters and ceded no walks in 25 at-bats and 80 pitches.
Georgia Southern’s sophomore pitcher Aaliyah Garcia walked only one batter in her time at the plate, earning the only run and two hits in 19 at-bats and 91 pitches thrown.
By the series final, Georgia State bounced back from its initial record in the first. The only error of this final game, coming from the Bobcats' Lemons in the fourth inning, allowed Eagle runners to reach second and third.
The Bobcats' final breakthrough came with Bell, the first batter of the bottom of the sixth. Deep into the at-bat at 3-2, she whacked a homer down the left-field line for the second and final Texas State hit. Georgia Southern’s sophomore second base/shortstop Olivia Creamer signaled to the shortstop to set up a tying pinch-run, ending the game stranded by the last batter, who popped out to end the series.
With their winning momentum back intact, the Bobcats will host Houston Baptist University (19-12 overall, 12-9 Southland).
Houston Baptist visits San Marcos with four consecutive series wins in tow, the latest sweep of Lamar University, which is a middling 5-7 away from home. However, Lamar lost 6-0 to Texas A&M University, a side that the Bobcats barely beat on April 6, 7-6.
Texas State also held two wins against HBU’s SLC rivals Abilene Christian University on Feb. 22, a series HBU lost 2-1 on March 12-13.
The first pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. on April 28 at Bobcat Softball Stadium and will air on ESPN+.