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Freshman second baseman Katarina Zarate throws the ball to junior first baseman JJ Smith for the out in
the Bobcats thrilling 6-5 win over the rival UTA Mavericks.
Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo

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Senior pitcher Tori McCann throws the ball in her start against the rival UTSA Roadrunners on Thursday. McCann threw a complete game shutout allowing just six hits, no walks and throwing six strikeouts.
Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo

Bobcats complete sweep of Texas State Classic

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

The final home tournament of the season saw Texas State go undefeated in tournament play, culminating in a comeback win over the Colorado State Rams 4-3.

With the Bobcats victory over the Rams, the team’s ability to finish the tournament unbeaten was important for pitcher Jessica Mullins, who got her 6th win of the season.

“It’s a big deal,” Mullins said. “Being able to continue the momentum will be the biggest challenge as we head to Florida this week.”

The Texas State Classic saw the Bobcats play in five one-score games over the weekend with three of the games coming in walk-off fashion.

Though the one-score games were all exciting and thrilling for head softball coach Ricci Woodard, now her team looks to improve on avoiding those type of situations for the victory.

“That was fun being able to watch them (Texas State) do that over six games,” Woodard said. “We had to battle in each one of those games to win it. Even though those were great battles, we still need to get better coming into this week and try to not put ourselves in those situations again when we try and go for the win.”

Though Woodard still wants to see improvement from her team, she saw another step forward in the Bobcats in terms of battling in each game compared to the last two tournaments Texas State was in.

“I think the competitive part of us did,” Woodard said. “I think we learned this game is a game of failure and we are going to fail some, but we have to keep going at it. That’s what we learned this weekend.”

Those contests saw Texas State defeat rival UTA twice in extra innings, a walk-off win against Kansas, and a come from behind win against Colorado State in their second meeting.

In their game against the Rams on Sunday, Texas State found themselves trailing 3-0 in the second inning.

With Mullins coming in as relief for starting pitcher Tori McCann, the junior gave her teammate some much needed support.

“As soon as we got into our little huddle, I went over to her and gave her a hug,” Mullins said. “I told her, ‘I got you.’ It goes both ways because I have her and she has me. So whenever one of us falters, we pick each other up.”

Staying good on her word, Mullins threw 5.2 innings, allowing just one hit, one walk, no runs, and throwing four strikeouts.

“I felt really good,” Mullins said. “Everything was working for me. I knew I had to come in with the confidence to grab the momentum back that the opposing team stole from us.”

On offense, the Bobcats scored two unanswered runs before junior JJ Smith came up to bat with runners on third and second with two outs as Texas State trailed 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Smith proceeded to smack a hard infield single towards the second baseman to allow two runs to come across as the Bobcats took the lead.

“The first pitch they threw was up and in,” Smith said. “They took that timeout but I knew that they were going to try and get up on my hands a little bit. I told Coach Woodard that I was looking for something hard to hit. Something did hit hard and I got a ball over the plate that I could manage … Once the second baseman bobbled it, I knew I had to put my head down and keep runing.”

With the offense breaking a slump at the I-35 Invitational last weekend, Smith said she believes this was a big breakthrough moment for the offense.

“As the season goes on, we are going to be more comfortable,” Smith said. “In the spot that we are in, seeing pitchers … I think that is going to carry out throughout the team and the energy continues to be contagious.”

Texas State will take their first road trip of the season as the Bobcats travel to Boca Raton, Florida, to participate in the Owl Classic hosted by Florida Atlantic University.

The first game is Thursday at 11 a.m. against Winthrop.

cmcwilliams Twitter: @ColtonBMc

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