April 17, 2012

The Bobcats look for a fresh start tonight in Austin

Justin's Keys to a Longhorn Slump Buster

Play like you have nothing to lose, because you don't

Texas State's hopes of a Southland Conference regular season championship or an at-large regional berth are officially dead. The Bobcats currently sit in 7th place in the conference standings and trail leader Sam Houston State by seven games. Given that the rest of their conference schedule includes series against Central Arkansas, Lamar and UTSA, I do not see Texas State missing the conference tournament.

That makes Tuesday's game in Austin meaningless, correct?

Wrong.

The recent beatings this team has taken are more mental than physical, even if Andrew Stumph disagrees with me. From a talent and coaching perspective, there is no way Texas State is the seventh best team in the SLC. They need to get some confidence back, and I can think of no better way than upsetting the Longhorns in Austin. This could set the stage for this weekend's series at home versus UCA, ending a nasty 2-6 skid in the month of April. Win the next four, and suddenly the Cats are 24-15 and 11-10 in conference, with a defining victory over a team that always gets their number.


Toughness, heart, pride...

And a pair of brass ones. Texas State was outscored 24-3 last weekend in Hammond. Getting swept on the road against a good team is one thing, but getting destroyed is another. This team needs to show some heart, and fast, or they could miss the SLC tournament despite being preseason favorites and the host university. It's understood that the Southland might be a top mid-major league in the NCAA this year, with UT Arlington, Southeastern, and Sam Houston's success. However, besides the Bobcats, there's not a team in the conference outside those three that are over .500 on the season.


Unexpected strength

The Disch is one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the nation, and the Bobcat staff had the third lowest ERA in the NCAA before the Lions ate them up for an eight run average last weekend. While I consider the Texas State defense shaky, shoring it up for one evening against Texas isn't out of the question. Augie might rest some guys and use his bullpen early if he's aiming for a sweep of lowly Kansas this weekend, despite how they are dealing. Texas has played seven games and seventy innings in the last twelve days.

"Swag"

Young folks refer to swag as the way they carry themselves and are perceived. Right now, this team needs to play ball like they are capable of and not get down over the past. Walking out onto the field knowing they can beat Texas is much more important than wondering what the consequence of a loss holds. Jumping this mental hurdle is important. If they leave the bus with the confidence that they are going to play well, then they will.

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