March 26, 2012

Texas State looks to rebound versus the Ducks

Texas State looks to rebound from a disastrous three game sweep at the hands of the BearKats in Huntsville last weekend when the 24th ranked Oregon Ducks visit San Marcos on Tuesday & Wednesday for a mid week series. The sweep dropped Texas State out of the Top 25 and their record in Southland Conference play to 4-5.

The Bobcats were outscored 19-9 in the series and did not look comfortable at the plate or on the mound all weekend. Texas State's pitching had been the backbone of the team so far this season, but looked vulnerable in Huntsville. The inconsistent Bobcat offense reared its ugly head once again and failed to keep pace with a very top heavy BearKat lineup. Texas State is not out of the Southland Conference regular season title chase just yet, but last weekend's performance will not be an easy hurdle to overcome, particularly if they are hoping for an at-large regional bid.

Probably the biggest surprise so far this season has been the play of senior 2nd baseman Tyler Sibley. Sibley has always been a spark plug for this team, but is hitting just .240 with an on base percentage of .313 out of the leadoff spot so far this season. Much has been made of the roughly twenty pounds of muscle Sibley added in the offseason. Some are even suggesting that it has slowed his swing at the plate. This may or may not be the case, but one thing is for sure: This is not the same Tyler Sibley we have grown accustomed to seeing the last three years. Texas State can only hope he is merely in a slump and will break out of it soon. If he can get back on track, I suspect the Texas State offense will as well.

The good news for the Bobcats is that they have a chance to build some confidence in a hurry if they can take two this week against the Ducks, but it will not be easy. Oregon boasts a 15-6 record, including series sweeps against Vanderbilt and Long Beach State. The Ducks have been pretty average at the plate so far this season, but have been stingy on the mound. In fact, opponents are hitting just .226 against the Ducks this season. With an 8-3 record, Oregon has also been a very good road team this year.

An out-of-conference mid week series is hardly a make or break for Texas State. The only guaranteed way into the NCAA tournament is to win the Southland tourney. A sweep at the hands of the Ducks while Southeastern Louisiana continues to soar is going to start making that necessary. Here's hoping that Oregon looks past the Bobcats to their weekend showdown with powerhouse Arizona State.

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