Official Blog of Texas State University - San Marcos Department of Athletics.

The Road to Omaha Begins...

Written by Bill Culhane on 12:16 PM

SLiCed and diced! Just one way to describe what our Bobcat baseball team did to the opposition in Southland Conference play this season. Fresh off an exhilarating five game run in the SLC tournament, in which the Bobcats had to win twice on back to back days, the Bobcats are again headed to the NCAAs.

Congratulations to Coach Harrington, his staff, the student-athletes, and everyone who contributed to what has been earned so far. The kudos most certainly extend to the fans who supported the 'Cats all season long and helped make the SLC tournament extra memorable for all involved. You could light up Paris (Paris, France, not Paris, Texas), for a week with the electricity in Bobcat BallPark on Saturday night during the championship game.

As all of Bobcat Nation knows by now, our Bobcat baseball team pulled off the trifecta by again winning the Southland Conference regular season championship (three in a row), won the SLC tournament title, and are travelling north to Austin for the NCAA regionals. While it is one thing to be picked to and/or believe you can do something, it's a different mountain to climb to actually go out and reach your goals.

At the Bobcat Baseball Leadoff Banquet back in early February, I asked Bobcat Senior Bret Atwood, aka Superman, to review the 2011 team's goals for the audience. Saturday night Bret touched on the subject again, "We had four goals...leave no doubt in getting in the regional. Our fourth goal is getting to Omaha. We're growing as a team, this week brought us all together, I think right now we have a lot of momentum going into next week."

I also visited with a happy, proud and blissfully tired Coach Harrington after the champsionship game. While ecstatic about the performance of the entire team, Ty mentioned the contributions of the 2011 seniors, "...great leadership and determination by our seniors."

Good things do indeed come in threes. The Bobcats won the SLC in 2009 with a 24-7 record, went 23-10 in 2010, and raced away with the league title at 24-9 this season. I got out the calculator and that translates to a 71-26 combined record in the past three seasons. That there is a lot of W's.

That is so offensive. Go to the
baseball stats page and look at the Bobcat offensive numbers. The one and only significant stat that opponents bested the Bobcats in was triples. On that note...

New bats, shmoo bats. The new bats mandated by the NCAA were supposed to remove the power, "gorilla ball", from college baseball. Obviously, the Bobcats didn't get the memo. In 2010, with the "old" bats, the Bobcats launched 47 homers. This season, the Bobcats led the Southland and have hit 58 bombs so far. UTSA and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi tied for second in the league with 44.

Toeing the rubber. Bobcat Junior RHP, Carson Smith, was deservedly named the Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year for the second year in a row. However, all would agree that it was the pitching staff that helped lead to the 2011 success. For example, did anyone check out J-Vo, Jospeh Dvorsky, on Saturday night vs SFA? Pitching coach Derek Matlock did an outstanding job in piecing together the group...and they delivered. Get it?..delivered. Sorry.

A little historical perspective. The SLC began sponsoring baseball in 1964. In 2011, the Bobcats became the fourth team in SLC history to win three regular season crowns in a row. Trinity won from 1964-1966 (in those years "conference competition" was only a tournament). Lamar earned the titles from 1975-1977, shared 1977 with La Tech, and the league consisted of six teams and a 15 game SLC schedule. Northwestern State won 1993-1995, 9 team league, 24 game schedule. The Demons didn't win the tournament in any of those three seasons. Note: A team has never won the title four years in a row. Hhmm. We are not just watching Bobcat baseball. We are witnessing history!

Been there, done that. The Bobcats have tasted success before in NCAA regionals. In the 1997 Lubbock regional, the Bobcats knocked off Texas Tech and Clemson. In the 2000 Waco regional, the Bobcats beat Baylor. I am fully prepared and willing to add to this paragraph. Now for the strange connections: I have worked at Clemson and Baylor and got my start in broadcasting from a guy from Texas Tech. 2011 regional foes: I have done work on the UT campus, grew up on Kent Island (Maryland), and went to Princeton. Well, actually drove by the campus. Just sayin...

Did you know? Former Bobcat great and current assistant coach Jeremy Fikac helped lead the 1997 team. Former Bobcat football and baseball great, and current assistant Football coach, Jason Washington was an important member of the 2000 team.

I asked Coach Fikac about playing on Bobcat championship teams and now helping coach the Bobcats to trophies. "We have talked about this from day one. The hardwork that they put in has paid off...it's a total team effort..."

Coach Fikac on the support of Bobcat Nation, "...they were vocal, they were loud, they understood what Joseph Dvorsky was doing out there and you could see them appreciating his efforts. They were great...a huge part of what went on here this weekend."

Following the 'Cats. The Bobcat NCAA games will be broadcasted on 89.9 by Mason and Weston from KTSW. Brant Freeman and I will be on hand to put together BobCasts (podcasts) postgame and other coverage. You will be able to find the podcasts here:
BobCasts. Steve Applehans, our incomparable SID for baseball, will also be providing stem-to-stern coverage on our Bobcats in Austin.

Fellow member of Bobcat Nation - we will see and hear you in Austin!

Any questions or comments, feel free to send an email to me at
lightthestar@gmail.com

Light the Star on Jackson Hall,

Bill

Blogging Maroon & Gold (May 6th, 2011)

Written by Brant Freeman on 6:07 PM

Bobcat fans and followers,

It’s good to be blogging again, a lot has happened since my last entry roughly about a month ago. The Maroon/Gold Spring Football Game came and went, Texas State hired its new Women’s Basketball Head Coach, the men’s and women’s golf seasons came to a close as did the Texas State tennis season. I also became a first time father to Zoey Lorraine Freeman on April 28th! My daughter is a beautiful blessing who’s also very…loud (no, that’s not Zoey). A week into parenting and now I know what everyone was talking about when it came to losing sleep. But I feel rested and energized enough to share some thoughts about all things Texas State, so let’s get to blogging…

I’ll start with the Spring Football game, won by the Gold Team 16-9 over Maroon. What a neat experience it was to broadcast the game with Head Coach Dennis Franchione. Bill Culhane and I couldn’t thank him enough for making himself available for the broadcast, although I don’t think we’ll be getting to do that again in the 2011 season. I guess we’ll just have to wait until next spring. As for the game itself, the defense stole the show for both teams. LB Joplo Bartu (7 tackles, 3 TFL and a sack) and CB Darryl Morris were particularly impressive, as was Jason MacLean, who played solid at safety. Remember, Texas State is replacing two starters at safety from this past season (TP Miller, Kenneth Hampton), so it’s good to see someone stepping in early to fill the void at that position. The pressure up front and the blitzing was extremely effective for both teams, so hopefully this is sign of things to come once September rolls around.

That’s the glass half full look at the game.

The offense on the other hand…let’s just say struggled in the Spring Game. The case can be made that the defense had a lot to do with that, and there’s certainly some truth to that. Coaches will also tell you that the defense always comes along faster than the offense, especially when it comes to adjusting to a new scheme. That being said, 14-of-38 passing just won’t cut it, and neither will 6-of-22 on third downs. There were overthrown/underthrown passes, dropped passes, breakdowns in protection, you name it. The running game had a tough time as well, as the two teams ran the ball 57 times for 170 yards (24 of those yards coming on the fake punt by Tight End David Lewis). But keep in mind, WR Darius Bolden didn’t play in the game due to a broken foot, OL Jason Hannan missed the game with a concussion and QB Tyler Ardnt (0-3 passing) played sparingly as he’s coming back from the ACL injury he suffered in October of this past season. One also couldn’t help but be impressed by some of the plays made outside of the pocket by transfer QB Shaun Rutherford (9-yard TD run on a 4th and goal play) and the playmaking ability of QB Tim Hawkins who rushed for a game high 65 yards and made a good throw to an open Cedric Alexander late in the 1st half for 59 yards setting up a field goal. Other offensive superlatives included a 7-catch, 56-yard day for WR Ed Amerson and RB Marcus Curry who ran for 26 yards and a score.

All-in-all, there was some good and bad from the game, which is to be expected in the spring. Just has me, and I’m sure most of you, all that more excited about the upcoming season!

By the way, Coach Franchione is no longer the newest coach on campus. Enter Zenerae Antoine as the new head coach of the Women’s Basketball program at Texas State. Great hire by the athletic department. While this is Coach Antoine’s first go-around as a head coach, she has an impressive background and is genuinely excited to be a Bobcat. She’s also a former D-I player, which can make it easier to relate to the players. Bill and I actually had the chance to visit with Coach Antoine in our latest podcast.

I’ll wrap things up by reminding you the chapter of the 2010-2011 athletic season isn’t quite over yet at Texas State. The Bobcat Track & Field team is headed to the SLC Championships, and as of this writing the Texas State softball team still has a shot at its 4th consecutive Southland Regular Season title and is headed to the SLC tournament…again (13 straight years). Bobcat Baseball, looking for a third straight SLC regular season title of its own, is tied with SFA for 1st in the Southland with just nine conference games left to go. How do a few more titles and NCAA appearances sound before say goodbye to this season?

For me, as good as sleep…

Eat ‘Em Up!

- Brant (reach me at: txstradio@gmail.com)

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The Drive is more than new buildings and championships. It's an increased sense of pride. The essence of Texas State makes this school one of the best universities in the country. Get Loud, Be Proud! It's A Great Day to be a Bobcat!

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