You know a season is close when a conference releases its respective preseason poll and preseason all-conference team.
Today was the Sun Belt Conference’s turn to release its softball variant.
Texas State landed fourth in the poll behind UL Lafayette, South Alabama and Western Kentucky. Georgia State, Troy, UT Arlington and UL Monroe followed close behind.
No Bobcats were named to the preseason all-conference team, which featured three Jaguars, three Hilltoppers, three Panthers, three Ragin’ Cajuns, two Mavericks and one Trojan.
Texas State opens the 2014 season Feb. 7 in the CenturyLink Classic.
Remember when Texas State dominated the Southland Conference?
From 2001 (when head coach Ricci Woodard took over) until 2012 (the team’s last year in the league), the Bobcats won six regular-season championships and four tournament crowns.
Well, the Southland Conference recently recognized Texas State’s authority. On Thursday, the league released its all-time team and the list featured eight Bobcats and Woodard as the top coach.
Pitching led Texas State throughout its Southland Conference years and that’s why the league honored five of the program’s best hurlers. Ragan Blake, Jessica Chase, Chandler Hall, Nicole Neuerburg and Katie Ann Trahan all won Pitcher of the Year honors at some point in the career (some multiple times).
Non-pitchers included on the list included McKenzie Baack, Haley Gaddis and Alex Newton. Baack is second on the program’s all-time chart in batting average, Gaddis scored the second most runs all-time and Newton was the 2009 Player of the Year.
Texas State head coach Ricci Woodard is ready for her team to hold itself accountable.
“We can sit around and make excuses all day long, but at the end of the day, it’s either a win or a loss,” Woodard said after the Bobcats’ two losses in the opening round of the Texas Shootout. “Right now, they’re buying into our excuses a little too much instead of coming out and getting after it.”
Texas State never gave itself room to breathe Thursday night as it lost to North Texas and Baylor by a combined score of 11-2.
In the first game against the Mean Green (a 1-0 loss), the Bobcats left 11 runners on base and hit 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Then Texas State couldn’t keep enough runs off the scoreboard in a 10-2 run-rule setback to the Bears, as junior pitcher Delia Saucedo was tattooed for eight runs in two innings.
Those losses snapped a 14-game home win streak by the Bobcats, dating back to last season. Texas State hadn’t lost at home since Feb. 19, 2012.
Note — It was confirmed that sophomore outfielder Brittney Garcia and sophomore shortstop Selena Hernandez were the two indefinite suspensions from the team. Neither Garcia nor Hernandez are listed on the roster.
Texas State is known to get off to some bad starts in softball (1-5 in 2012), but this raises the bar to a new level. Prior to the Bobcats’ trip to the Hilton Houston Plaza Classic last weekend, head coach Ricci Woodard suspended seven players due to “violations of team rules” and two were suspended indefinitely.
Here is a list of seven players that didn’t appear in box scores from last weekend’s games. Texas State went 0-5 in the tournament.
- Sophomore outfielder Ali Akina
- Sophomore utility Brittney Garcia
- Sophomore third baseman Courtney Harris
- Senior second baseman Anna Hernandez
- Sophomore shortstop Selena Hernandez
- Junior utility Timishia North
- Junior pitcher Delia Saucedo
Losing both of the Hernandezes — for any amount of time — could truly hurt the Bobcats. Last year, as a true freshman, Selena Hernandez led Texas State with 55 hits and tied for the team lead with 26 RBI. Anna Hernandez, who was named to the All-WAC Preseason Team, hit .304 and knocked in 23 runs in 2012.
How does Woodard expect her team to respond?
“This is a good group of kids,” Woodard said. “They’ll pull together.”
We interrupt your regularly-scheduled programming of Texas State men’s and women’s basketball to bring you this: The Bobcat baseball and softball team were recently projected to finish second and first, respectively, in the Western Athletic Conference.
Ty Harrington’s bunch earned one first-place vote and 65 points, putting it behind preseason-favorite Dallas Baptist. Texas State went 32-24 in 2012 and 19-14 in Southland Conference play. Harrington’s team opens play Feb. 15 in the CenturyLink Bobcat Invitational.
Ricci Woodard’s team edged San Jose State as the preseason darling. The Bobcats garnered five first-place votes and 43 points to the Spartans’ two and 43. Texas State opens the 2013 season Friday in Houston.
Well, 2012 is just about done. It’s time to look back at the year in Bobcat athletics with five of the biggest stories. You can click on the links to read the corresponding articles from the San Marcos Daily Record.
1. Texas State knocks off Houston
The Bobcats became the first underdog of more than 34 points to win a game by double digits.
2. Texas State joins the FBS, WAC
A 12-year wait ended as the Bobcats officially became members of the Football Bowl Subdivision and the Western Athletic Conference.
3. Texas State hosts Texas Tech in home opener
More than 30,000 fans watched the Bobcats and Red Raiders tangle in Bobcat Stadium. Here is our game story from the 58-10 loss.
4. Near record for Texas State’s pitchers
The Bobcats didn’t allow a run in 57 2/3 consecutive innings, falling just short of an NCAA record.
5. Hall’s no-hitter in the SLC Tournament
When the Bobcats needed senior pitcher Chandler Hall to step up the most, she did. Hall no-hit Sam Houston State for the title.
It was a busy week for several teams at Texas State. While the football team had a bye week in preparation of Saturday’s clash at San Jose State, the soccer, softball and volleyball teams were all in action.
On Thursday, the Bobcat softball team took on the National Pro Fastpitch All-Stars in an exhibition. Despite a standout performance by senior pitcher Anne Marie Taylor (13 innings pitched, three hits, one run), Texas State dropped a 1-0 heartbreaker. Taylor gave up a solo home run in the top of the 13th inning and the Bobcats stranded eight runners in scoring position throughout the game.
On Friday, Texas State’s soccer team put itself in great position for the Western Athletic Conference Tournament with a 3-0 win over New Mexico State. The Bobcats scored two goals in the second half to break open the game. Senior forward Serena Hines tallied a goal and two assists to pace Texas State.
Then on Saturday, the Bobcat volleyball team won a thrilling five-set match over Texas-San Antonio. Texas State had five players post nine or more kills and sophomore setter Caylin Mahoney (11 kills, 25 assists, 6 digs) had a monster outing.
Texas State (39-17) watched its season end in a 7-4 loss to Texas A&M (41-17) in the College Station Regional.
Here is a brief look at the numbers from the game…
- 5 — Home runs by the Aggies. All of which came with two outs.
- 4 — Home runs allowed by the Bobcats’ Chandler Hall.
- 2 — Home runs by Texas A&M pitcher Mel Dumezich, bringing her season total to 20.
- 11 — Runners left on base by the Bobcats.
- 4 — Hits by Texas State freshman shortstop Selena Hernandez in four at-bats.
- 8-for-12, 3 R, 1 RBI — Combined line of Hernandez, junior outfielder Brooke Baker and junior first baseman Haley Lemons.
- 7 — Two-out hits allowed by Hall.
- 12 — Ground-ball outs by the Aggies, which led to A&M head coach Jo Evans singing high praise of the Bobcats’ defense after the game.
Texas State survived its first elimination game of the College Station Regional. The Bobcats knocked off Bethune-Cookman, 5-3, to advance to the regional semifinal.
In the win, Texas State was led by junior Shelby Carline, who went 2-for-2 with a single, double and a run scored. Junior left-handed pitcher Anne Marie Taylor didn’t have her best stuff in the circle, allowing base runners in five of the seven innings and a three-run home run, but she picked up her 17th win of the season.
The Bobcats now get Texas A&M in another elimination game. If Texas State beats the Aggies, who lost to Louisiana State earlier in the afternoon, it heads to the championship against the Tigers.
Texas State now has its backs squarely against the wall in the College Station Regional.
The Bobcats fell to Louisiana State, 1-0, in the opening round, putting themselves in a win-or-go-home situation the rest of the way. Starting tomorrow, Texas State must win four games in two days to advance to a Super Regional.
“You try to learn from this, because we’re going to play another good team tomorrow,” Bobcats head coach Ricci Woodard said. “This team is still hungry. I expect them to come out and win two ball games tomorrow and still be playing on Sunday.”
Texas State had its chances to put itself in the winner’s bracket and give senior pitcher Chandler Hall a victory. Hall no-hit the Tigers through six innings and the Bobcats had an opportunity with two on and two outs in the seventh, but couldn’t execute.
Then in the bottom of the seventh, LSU collected three singles, the third of which knocked in the winning run.
Texas State will play Bethune-Cookman in an elimination game tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m.