Senior Hailey MacKay prepares to hit the ball in Texas State’s first game against South Alabama on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. Photo courtesy of Texas State Athletics.

The Texas State Bobcats began their 2020 softball season at the NFCA Leadoff  Classic Friday afternoon, splitting the day with a win against Sun Belt foe South Alabama and a loss to the No. 16 Kentucky Wildcats over 1,000 miles from San Marcos in Clearwater, Florida.

Starting hours after their first win of the season, Texas State completed their double-header with a 2-1 loss against the nationally-ranked Kentucky Wildcats.

In what was the opposite of the offensive barrage against South Alabama, Texas State still came to play in the tough loss.

With the first three innings scoreless for both sides, Texas State finally broke the scoreless drought by junior outfielder Kylie George scoring on a sacrifice fly to put the Cats up 1-0.

Texas State held on to that 1-0 lead for an inning, as the Kentucky Wildcats matched scores, tying the game 1-all with junior infielder Lauren Johnson scoring off of freshman utility Rylea Smith’s RBI single.

This contest was locked in at 1-1 until Smith hit the game-winning RBI single to put the Wildcats over Texas State by a score of 2-1.

Freshman Tori Mccann and the Texas State Bobcats took their first loss of the season in heartbreaking fashion.

The Bobcats entered Friday’s doubleheader unranked but proved their worth quickly as a conference contender with a 5-2 win against South Alabama earlier in the day. The Jaguars were picked in preseason as eighth in the Sun Belt, while the ‘Cats were chosen at fourth.

The ‘Cats started quick, getting two hits and three runs in to begin the first inning. Freshman catcher Sara Vanderford started the barrage of runs for Texas State as she hit a double-RBI single in her first at-bat. The very next at-bat for the Bobcats continued their success as sophomore pitcher Samara Lagway hit an RBI single to bring the lead to 3-0 after one inning.

The momentum carried on throughout the contest as Texas State held a commanding 4-1 lead after the third inning. Once again Vanderford came through for the ‘Cats with another single that ultimately led to senior infielder Hailey Mackay scoring off of an error.

Lastly, as South Alabama looked to close the distance on that 4-1 lead, junior infielder Arieann Bell hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth inning, stretching what was a South Alabama comeback attempt instead to a comfortable 5-2 lead.

Ultimately, Texas State held on to that same lead, giving Junior RHP Meagan King & the Bobcats their very first win on the season.

This will be the first of many contests for the Bobcats’ 2020 season as this squad looks to put Texas State back in the Sun Belt Conference regular-season championship as they did back in 2018.

The Bobcats look to bounce back against Louisville and No. 23 Auburn on Saturday, followed by a bout against the USA Olympic Team on Sunday.

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