Texas State softball (37-10 overall, 17-6 Sun Belt) defeated the Georgia State University Panthers (16-29 overall, 3-18 Sun Belt) 2-0 in the second round of the Sun Belt Conference Championship.
The No. 2 seeded Bobcats got a first-round bye while the No. 10 Panthers beat No. 7 Georgia Southern University 4-1 in the first round. Despite the disparity in seeding, both teams were neck-in-neck for the majority of the contest.
The game was a battle between Texas State freshman pitcher Jessica Mullins and Georgia State sophomore pitcher Julia Allen. Allen only pitched a mere 29.2 innings of the season versus Mullins' 151.2.
Three innings into the game, Mullins allowed one hit with two strikeouts while Allen kept the Bobcats off base with a strikeout.
Entering the fourth, Georgia State sophomore infielder Daisy Hess singled out to left field. Mullins walked sophomore pitcher Sophie Mooney, putting two runners on base, but the Bobcats ended the frame on a 5-3 double play.
At the bottom of the inning, freshman utility Hannah Earls got the Bobcats' first hit on a single to the catcher. Earls went to steal second and was called safe initially, but the call was overturned. Senior infielder Tara Oltmann was walked and sophomore infielder Sara Vanderford followed up with a double out to left field. However, a foul ball by senior infielder Hailey MacKay left both runners stranded on second and third.
In the bottom of the fifth, senior outfielder ArieAnn Bell hit a solo home run deep into center field to grab the game's first score. Mullins protected the lead in the top of the sixth as she threw a pair of strikeouts and walked a batter.
In the bottom of the sixth, freshman outfielder Piper Randolph singled out to first base. A sac bunt from Oltmann pushed Randolph up to second. A wild pitch by Allen, allowed Randolph to grab third. Vanderford stepped up to the plate with a runner in scoring position and hit a sac fly deep out to right field, allowing Randolph to stroll in for the 2-0 lead.
The Panthers had a final opportunity to get back into the game, but they went down in order, and Mullins got her last strikeout of the night.
Mullins pitched a complete game, allowing three hits with six strikeouts. Allen also finished a complete game allowing five hits, two earned runs with two strikeouts.
The Bobcats will now play the No. 6 seed University of Texas at Arlington at 12:30 p.m. on May 13 at Troy Softball Complex in Troy Alabama. The game will air on ESPN+.