The Bobcats began the year by opening their brand new facility, the 2,000 seat Bobcat Baseball Stadium.
Regardless of what happens in this weekend's Austin Regional, Texas State will have notched its most successful season in school history.
With a 41-15 record, the ‘Cats have already set a school-best for victories in a season. The previous high was 39, set in 1987. The club also won the Southland Conference regular season championship with a 24-7 record.
This weekend will be Texas State's fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Bobcats made their previous three trips—1997, 1999, 2000—when the school was known as Southwest Texas State.
Texas State head coach Ty Harrington is making his second trip to a regional. The former Longhorn graduated from Texas in 1989 and was a two-time letterwinner under legendary coach Cliff Gustafson.
This year, Texas State has recorded a 3-6 record against top-50 RPI opponents. They were 2-1 against the Baylor Bears, 1-0 versus the Rice Owls, 0-2 against Texas and TCU, and 0-1 against Texas A&M.
The Longhorns opened the Bobcats' new stadium on March 3, and the game was a battle throughout. Texas State led for most of the game, but Texas scored two runs in the top of the eighth to take home a 6-5 victory.
The game in Austin—played on April 28—was a bit different. Texas jumped out to an early 4-2 lead through two innings and cruised to a 12-2 victory over the Bobcats. The Longhorns out-hit Texas State by a 15-6 margin in that contest.
Texas State's most impressive victory of the season was a 4-1 mid-week win over the Rice Owls in Houston. Starting pitcher Garret Carruth—the club's typical midweek starter—held the potent Rice offense to just one run in six innings. Reliever Tyler Brundridge closed it out with three hitless frames.
Texas State is, without a doubt, the best offensive club in the Austin Regional. Although the Bobcats play their home games in a hitter-friendly ballpark, they can mash just about anywhere.
The club is batting .336 as a team this season with 74 home runs. They've also walked more times  than they have struck out , an impressive statistic regardless of competition.
The Bobcats have settled on the same lineup for most of the season, and they don't have a very deep bench. Tall freshman infielder Kyle Kubitza could start a game or two at third base during the regional.
First baseman Paul Goldschmidt is undoubtedly the leader of the Texas State offense. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound hoss batted .360 with 39 extra-base hits last season. Though he has gained a reputation and is seeing fewer strikes this year [54 walks in 56 games], he is still batting .353 with 36 extra-base hits and a .475 on-base percentage.
Texas State also has an excellent outfield, between Spenser Dennis, Bret Atwood and Tyler Sibley. The three players are batting a cumulative .381 this season with 43 stolen bases.
Dennis' batting average hovered around .450 for much of the season, but he has begun to settle in just above the .400 mark. He has cooled off but is still one of the team's better hitters.
Sibley will almost certainly be named a Freshman All-American after the season concludes. The Frisco, Tx., native is hitting .369 with 27 extra-base hits [including 10 round-trippers] and 14 stolen bases. He has fanned just 16 times in 274 plate appearances while drawing 26 walks and getting plunked by 18 pitches. Additionally, he has committed just one error all season.
As shown in the numbers, all three of Texas State's starters pitch to contact, and they all give up more than one hit per inning.
Kane Holbrooks has been the staff leader all season. While it hasn't been officially announced, he will almost certainly pitch against Boston College on Friday afternoon.
The 6-foot-3 senior is 10-1 with a 3.34 ERA, but his overall numbers are a bit inflated by one very poor start. Holbrooks gave up 10 earned runs in just 3.2 innings against UT-San Antonio towards the end of the season. Without that outing, his ERA drops to 2.48.
Holbrooks has an upper-80s, low-90s fastball, a solid slider, and a usable changeup. Like the other starters, he isn't a strikeout pitcher and mostly lives off his plus command. When he's going well, Holbrooks keeps the ball down in the zone and gets plenty of ground balls. In his last start, coming against Stephen F. Austin, the right-hander threw 88 pitches in seven innings, getting 16 groundouts, four flyouts, and zero strikeouts.
Borski has been the Bobcats' Saturday starter over the last couple of weeks, and he would most likely start the club's second game. Tritz is 8-2 with a 4.75 ERA, and he is probably the game three starter. Both hurlers are getting hit at just over .300 on the season, but Tritz has been hit a bit harder. In 77.2 innings, he has given up a team-high 16 doubles and 11 home runs.
Should the club need a fourth starter, they will probably turn to righty Garret Carruth, their usual midweek starter. Carruth struggled against the Longhorns in April, but he also tossed a gem to defeat Rice. Overall, he has a 4-4 record and a 6.55 earned-run average.
Michael Russo has settled in as the team's closer after beginning the year as a starting pitcher. The hurler has a good fastball, and he has helped shore up the team's bullpen problems.
Between Russo, Loftin and Brundridge, Texas State actually has a strong 1-2-3 punch out of the bullpen. But beyond those three, they don't have much depth, which doesn't bode well for a regional.
Texas State must pitch well to have a chance in this weekend's regional. There is no question about the Bobcats' ability to hit, and they are a good enough defensive team, but their pitching has been short all year.
Because Texas' Disch-Falk Field is so pitcher-friendly, Texas State probably didn't draw the best stadium. With San Marcos being approximately 30 minutes from the ballpark, the Bobcats will have a home-crowd advantage against Boston College and Army. But the park doesn't play to the team's strength, which is offense. Texas State may have been best off playing in a small park for the regional, where they could outscore opponents.
Regardless of ballpark, the opening matchup with Boston College is a must-win for Texas State, as they do not have the pitching depth to fight through the loser's bracket. If they are able to win their opening game, anything can happen. The Bobcats generally give the Longhorns a good battle, and anything can happen if they get by Boston College.