Old rivalry lives up to its billing as Texas State holds off UTSA, 14-12

The afternoon was damp, with a drizzling rain, before a 6 p.m. first pitch in San Marcos. Then it turned windy and a little bit wild.

In a game that lasted for four hours and 14 minutes, the ninth-ranked Texas State Bobcats built a nine-run lead and then watched in shock as their Interstate 35 rivals nearly pulled off a miracle rally to win.

Fortunately for Texas State, closer Tristan Stivors struck out the last batter with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth to preseve a 14-12 victory over the UTSA Roadrunners.

Trailing by a 14-5 count entering the ninth, the Roadrunners rallied for seven runs and had a chance to make things even more interesting if they could just get one more hit.

Stivors, from Medina Valley, decided it just wasn’t going to happen that way. After giving up an RBI single and a bases loaded walk, he fanned pinch hitter Nick Crespo with the bases loaded to end it, securing his team’s sixth straight win.

Crespo worked a count to 3-2 before Stivors dropped a breaking pitch into the strike zone for strike three. It was the 389th pitch of the game, including the 198th for the Bobcats.

Texas State outfielder Jose Gonzalez led the Bobcats offensively with three hits and five RBI. He clubbed a three-run homer in a seven-run fourth inning. The Texas State defense also played a role with three double plays and at least three balls caught at the warning track.

UTSA had won 11 of 13 games coming in. It led by two runs early, and then crumbled when Texas State scored three in the third and seven in the fourth inning for an 11-3 lead.

The Roadrunners started to rally with two runs in the top of the seventh. Undeterred, the Bobcats struck again with three in its half for a 14-5 lead.

As if the game needed any more fireworks, the Roadrunners sent 13 batters to the plate in the ninth. UTSA produced six hits and three walks. A big play during the outburst was an infield error that allowed the Roadrunners to score two runs.

In the end, the Bobcats escaped with a victory in the first meeting between the old rivals in two years. Texas State leads the series against UTSA with a 61-37 record. The Bobcats have won four of the last five against the Roadrunners.

UTSA lost in spite of a 20-hit performance, including three each by Garrett Poston, Shane Sirdashney and Leyton Barry.

For Barry, his hardest-hit ball of the night was a drive that was caught at the top of the fence by John Wuthrich in the fourth inning. After the catch, the Roadrunners loaded the bases with a couple of hits and a walk.

The Bobcats ended the threat by turning a double play on a bouncer to the pitcher, who threw to the plate for the first out. The catcher threw to first to end the inning. Texas State followed by scoring seven runs in its half of the fourth to open an eight-run lead.

Records

Texas State 29-9
UTSA 24-13

Coming up

Friday — Texas State hosts the Little Rock Trojans in a Sun Belt Conference series opener, while UTSA, hosts the FIU Panthers in Conference USA.
Tuesday, April 26 — Texas State at UTSA, 6 p.m.

Notable

The Bobcats defeated the Roadrunners for the fourth time in five meetings. Their last meeting came in March of 2020 in San Marcos when the Bobcats won 11-1 in eight innings on a run rule. The next day, college baseball and the rest of the sports world started to shut down in the wake of the pandemic.

The I-35 rivals started playing in 1992, which was UTSA’s first year as a baseball program.

This could be Texas State’s best team in more than 10 years. With seven victories over Power 5 conference programs, the Bobcats are looking for their first bid to the NCAA tournament since 2011. UTSA’s last NCAA appearance came in 2013.

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