Texas State baseball (No. 35, Collegiate Baseball Newspaper national poll) waited a day to play its 2012 season opener after rain postponed the game originally scheduled for Friday, and then waited 13 innings to drop a 5-4 decision to the Santa Clara University Broncos on Saturday. Starting pitcher Colton Turner went 7.2 innings, giving up three runs, but only one earned, as the Bobcat defense committed three errors behind him. Freshman shortstop Garrett Mattlage dropped a ground ball up the middle with the bases loaded in the top of the 13th inning to allow the go-ahead run to score.
The Bronco offense started slowly as Turner recorded the first two outs of the game easily, but Santa Clara's offense clicked enough to score twice with those two outs before the frame ended. Texas State’s own offense was not to be intimidated as it immediately responded in the bottom of the 1st with RBI knocks from senior outfielders Jeff McVaney and Cody Gambill. The ‘Cats would take the lead in the third inning on an RBI sacrifice fly from senior Joey Fuda, and later led 4-2 after left fielder Morgan Mickan lined a ball into the left field corner for an RBI. Mickan helped pace the offense with a 2-for-5 night that included a walk and an RBI, but also made two sprawling grabs to aid the defense. He later moved to center field after Fuda injured himself diving for a ball over his head, attempting to prevent the ball from rolling to the wall. Freshman Brooks Orton replaced Mickan in left.
Turner’s dominance on the mound shined brightly from the 3rd through the 8th innings, as he faced the minimum number of batters, only giving up three hits in that time after a rough first two innings. For those next six innings under Turner's reign, 13 of 16 Bronco hitters were denied reaching the base paths as the junior lefty settled in, with only two singles and a walk as blemishes. He retired batters in order in the 6th and 7th, picking off two runners to help his own cause. Battery mate Andrew Stumph backed him up by catching a runner stealing in the 5th inning as well. But after giving up a one-out single in the 8th, head coach Ty Harrington pulled the lefty in favor of junior right hander Garrett Sheperd, who failed to record an out as he allowed the tying run to reach and then score.
McVaney relieved Shepperd of his role and pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless ball, but ultimately after Mattlage's error in the 13th, senior righthander Dylan Adamek took the loss in four complete innings of work.
Texas State looked to take back control of the game in the 10th, 11th and 12th innings, having runners in scoring position each time, even with the bases loaded with no one out in the 11th, but the bottom of the lineup failed to produce. Senior Tyler Sibley stepped to the plate as the potential hero that inning, but grounded out to end the threat.
Mickan led off the 12th with a double, but was stranded there as the heart of the Bobcat order faltered again, including senior first baseman Ory Kalenkosky putting the cap on an 0-for-6 day. Kalenkosky was named a Louisville Slugger Pre-Season All-American this year after setting a Texas State single season record of 21 home runs in 2011.
Texas State baseball resumes Sunday for a 3:00 CST first pitch at Bobcat Field when the 'Cats face Witchita State (No. 37, Collegiate Baseball Newspaper) in game two of the CenturyLink Tournament. Game broadcasts can be heard live at 89.9 FM KTSW and www.TxStateBobcats.com/Radio, or www.ktsw.net.
Mason Robinson, KTSW Assistant Sports Director
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