Monthly Archives: February 2013

College Football: Fran wants toughness this spring out of his Bobcats

Other than “Duke DeLancellotti,” the biggest buzzword in Texas State head coach Dennis Franchione’s press conference Wednesday afternoon was “toughness.” Franchione felt the Bobcats, who finished 2012 with a 4-8 overall record, weren’t tenacious enough to withstand the brunt of a full schedule in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

“Getting tougher mentally and physically is a big pressure point for us this spring,” Franchione said. [We need to] find a way to win some of those close games and to get more competitive at the FBS level.”

Franchione later touched on this at length.

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College Basketball: Important stretch for Texas State

For the second time this season, Texas State has the reigning Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week on its roster. Who could it be other than junior forward Joel Wright.

Texas State junior forward Joel Wright took home his second WAC Player of the Week honor.

Texas State junior forward Joel Wright took home his second WAC Player of the Week honor.

Last Saturday, Wright led the Bobcats to a 74-61 win over Lamar in the ESPN BracketBusters series. Wright scored 27 points, grabbed seven rebounds, handed out six assists and blocked four shots.

“We have to win games for me to get that award,” Wright said. “In all honesty, that award goes to the team. I’m happy that they noticed me for my good performance, but I’m just trying to win games and need to stay humble.”

Wright added that he hopes the team uses the win — and the award — as momentum going forward. That’s exactly what Texas State needs as it embarks on an important four-game stretch.

Beginning Thursday, the Bobcats take on three teams in the bottom half of the WAC standings (Seattle University, Idaho and San Jose State). If Texas State is to improve its seed as it heads into the WAC Tournament (March 12-16), Doug Davalos’ team must win a few of those games.

When the Bobcats take the floor Thursday night against the Redhawks, they’re also looking to snap a long home losing streak. Texas State, one year removed from winning 16 consecutive home games, has lost seven in a row.

“We can’t have teams coming in and thinking, ‘This is going to be an easy win,'” Bobcat junior guard Deonte’ Jones said. “We definitely can’t have that. We have to get tougher, guard better and knock down some shots.”

Here are the current standings in the WAC:

  1. Louisiana Tech (14-0)
  2. Denver (13-2)
  3. New Mexico State (12-3)
  4. Utah State (9-5)
  5. UT-Arlington (9-5)
  6. Idaho (5-10)
  7. San Jose State (3-11)
  8. Texas State (3-11)
  9. UTSA (2-12)
  10. Seattle (2-13)

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College Athletics: First WAC team title for Texas State

Members of the Texas State women's indoor track and field team pose with the trophy (Photo courtesy of Twitter).

Members of the Texas State women’s Indoor Track and Field Team pose with the team trophy from the WAC meet (Courtesy of Twitter).

Texas State finally got its hands on a team title in the Western Athletic Conference thanks to the women’s indoor track and field team.

Last weekend, the Bobcats traveled to Albuquerque, N.M. for the WAC Indoor Track and Field Championships. Texas State returned with 10 medals (three gold, three silver and six bronze) and most importantly, the biggest honor available.

This was the Bobcats’ first indoor track and field title since 2007, when they were in the Southland Conference.

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College Baseball: Up and down

Remember when Texas State had a fearsome offense? A few years ago, the Bobcats churned out hits and runs at a torrid pace.

That was then. This is now.

Texas State has struggled mightily so far this season to push runs across the plate. It looked as if the Bobcats broke through with six runs on 10 hits in a series-opening win Friday night over Houston. Then in the second game of the three-game set, Texas State mustered only one hit against the Cougars and fell 1-0. Houston pitcher Austin Pruitt absolutely dominated the Bobcats as he struck out 10 and rarely allowed them to make solid contact.

“Yesterday, we were a different offensive team and that has a lot to do with him (Pruitt),” Texas State head coach Ty Harrington said. “We just have to continue to grow.

“As good as his stuff was, we have to do a better job of creating some offense. We know that we’re not going to sit in there and swing away: we don’t have that kind of offense now. We have to be able to execute.”

One constant for the Bobcats, however, has been the performances of junior pitcher Kyle Finnegan and sophomore pitcher Taylor Black. Finnegan, who pitched Friday night, struck out nine in five innings to increase his season total to 20 punch-outs. Black — who nearly threw as well as Pruitt — struck out six and induced 12 ground outs, but allowed one hit (an RBI double to Cougar third baseman Jonathan Davis) and took his first loss of the season.

Texas State wraps up its three-game series with Houston tomorrow at noon.

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College Softball: Home streak ends

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.

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College Basketball: Home-court disadvantage

Teams generally want to protect their home court. To some, it’s a mantra. To those at the bottom of the Western Athletic Conference standings, it’s merely a suggestion.

Louisiana Tech, Denver and New Mexico State are a combined 20-0 at home in conference play. It shouldn’t surprise anybody that the Bulldogs, Pioneers and Aggies are first, second and third, respectively.

From fourth to 10th place, teams are a combined 11-41 inside their own gyms.

After Saturday’s 73-62 loss to Texas-San Antonio, the Bobcats fell to 0-7 in home conference games. Texas State lost each of those games by an average of 16.4 points.

Two of the Bobcats’ next three games are at home. Is that a good thing?

“I have no idea,” Texas State head coach Doug Davalos said. “I don’t know why we can’t play at home.

“We’ve had our moments, but this is pathetic. I’ve tried everything. I’m a Christian, but I almost want to have a voodoo session at half-court. I don’t know what it is. I’ll bite off the head of a live chicken. I’ll do whatever it takes to break this home-court curse, because I don’t get it.”

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College Basketball: Slammed by UTSA

This post was going to be called “A tale of two halves,” but what Texas State put forth Saturday afternoon in the first 20 minutes against Texas-San Antonio couldn’t be classified as a half of basketball. In fact, Bobcat head coach Doug Davalos described his team’s performance as, “…the worst half of basketball I’ve ever seen” and “…an epidemic of bad play.”

Texas State junior guard Phil Hawkins scored 13 points in 32 minutes against UTSA (Photo by Gerald Castillo).

Texas State junior guard Phil Hawkins scored 13 points in 32 minutes against UTSA (Photo by Gerald Castillo).

Texas State couldn’t find its way before halftime of a 73-62 loss to the Roadrunners if someone pointed the right way. UTSA trounced the Bobcats (leading by as many as 31), pounded them on the boards (25-9; 9-1 offensive rebounds) and scored 15 second-chance points to their zero.

Perhaps the only saving grace in the first half was that the Roadrunners missed 12 of their 17 three-point attempts. UTSA forward Jeromie Hill couldn’t be stopped, however, as he made 3-of-4 from behind the arc and had 13 points at halftime.

Texas State bounced back in the second half and to the fans’ credit, they stuck around to watch the Bobcats slice the Roadrunners’ lead to as few as eight points. Senior forward Matt Staff triggered Texas State’s comeback, scoring 14 of his game-high 18 points and grabbing 11 of his game-high 13 rebounds after halftime.

You can read our game story here — Slow start dooms Bobcat men

On the road, the Bobcat women were a polar opposite.

Texas State jumped out to a 40-33 lead at halftime behind a blistering shooting performance. Behind the return of junior forward Ashley Ezeh, the Bobcats canned 17 of their 22 first-half shots.

UTSA eventually caught up with Texas State and broke the game wide open. The Roadrunners outscored the Bobcats by 16 points in the second half (41-25) en route to a 74-65 win.

Four Texas State players scored in double figures, led by senior guard Diamond Ford’s 20 points. Ezeh added 13 points and three rebounds.

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College Baseball: Finnegan hot, bats not

More than 15 scouts from Major League Baseball teams were in attendance Friday afternoon at Bobcat Ballpark when Texas State opened its 2013 season against Missouri State in the CenturyLink Bobcat Invitational. One of the main reasons they were there was Texas State junior pitcher Kyle Finnegan — and he put on a show.

Texas State junior pitcher Kyle Finnegan struck out 11 batters in Saturday's 3-2 loss (Photo by Gerald Castillo).

Texas State junior pitcher Kyle Finnegan struck out 11 batters in Saturday’s 3-2 loss (Daily Record Photo by Gerald Castillo).

Despite a few control problems, Finnegan dazzled in his six-inning stint during a 3-2 loss. Finnegan struck out 11, walked four and allowed two earned runs. At least seven of Finnegan’s strikeouts came by way of his fastball, which topped out at 97-miles per hour.

“We were kind of setting it up to where the fastball would be the out pitch,” Finnegan said. “They were calling outside fastballs and I just tried to hit my spots.”

As the season progresses, Finnegan should continue to move up teams’ draft boards. As a sophomore, Finnegan struck out 75 batters in 93.1 innings, including 12 in a 5-0 win over Notre Dame. Finnegan received an invite to the Cape Cod League last summer, where he sat down 46 hitters in 39.1 innings and posted a 6.41 ERA.

“It was a great experience,” Finnegan said. “Playing with the best in the country kind of forces you to become a better player. I was able to learn a lot and work on the change-up a lot. That’s all helped me.”

While Finnegan seemed ready for opening day, the Bobcats’ offense did not.

Texas State stranded 12 runners and only collected four hits. There were multiple opportunities for the Bobcats to win the game, including a spot in the bottom of the ninth where sophomore second baseman Colby Targun had men on second and third with two outs (after a double steal), but they failed to come through. Targun struck out on a 3-2 count with the bat on his shoulder.

“We gave ourselves chances … to score and didn’t take advantage,” Texas State head coach Ty Harrington said. “We have to do a better job offensively, no question.”

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College Softball: An inauspicious start

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.”

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College Basketball: Win, loss

Mark down yet another split for Texas State’s basketball programs, as the women snapped a six-game losing streak at home by beating Louisiana Tech and the men fell on the road, despite a strong start.

Here is our game story from the women’s 68-63 win over the fourth-place Lady Techsters. Four Bobcats were in double figures, led by Diamond Ford’s 16 points. Junior guard Kaylan Martin had a monster game with 10 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.

On the road, Texas State’s men fell to 3-10 in the Western Athletic Conference with an 84-69 loss to first-place Louisiana Tech. After the Bobcats went up 20-10 early in the first half, the Bulldogs closed on a 24-9 run that broke the game open. Even though Texas State had four players in double figures, Doug Davalos’ team shot 52 percent from the free-throw line (13-of-25) and turned it over 17 times.

Both teams are back in action Saturday afternoon when the IH-35 Rivalry Series is renewed between the Bobcats and UTSA.

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