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

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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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