Texas State knocks out Stanford No. 2 in NCAA region


Texas State added another notch to its historic season on Saturday night, winning its second game in an NCAA region for the first time by knocking out second-seeded Stanford 5-2 at the Sunken Diamond in Stanford, Texas. California.

The Bobcats moved to a one-spot victory in next week’s super regionals and will face either Stanford or UC Santa Barbara at 9 p.m. Sunday.

Texas State (47-12) extended a record winning total with its 13th victory in the last 14 games, ending a 17-game winning streak for Stanford (42-15).

“It’s cool to get our name out there as a program. Just let the world know who we are,” said Bobcats closest Tristan Stivors. “We are going to put our name on the map. We’ve done it before and we’ll be here for years to come. I can promise you that.”

Facing Pac-12 pitcher of the year Alex Williams, Texas State hit three homers in the first four innings on Saturday, including two blowouts by Jose Gonzalez.

Bobcats starter Levi Wells threw a career-high 107 pitches in seven solid innings before passing the baton to Stivors, a Medina Valley product who made his 18th NCAA leading save.

Third-year coach Steven Trout, who guided a turnaround from the 21-36 record in 2021 that marked the worst year since the program’s first season in 1984, called Saturday’s result the biggest win of her career.

“This team has broken many records and is setting history,” Trout said. “With another tonight, it’s just fun to be with these guys.”

Williams, who went 8-1 with a 1.67 ERA during the regular season, allowed five runs for the first time since March as the Bobcats scored him for five hits, two walks and two hits in 4 2/3 innings.

He allowed just two homers in his first 15 starts before the Bobcats connected for three on Saturday. Trout said Texas State focused on not chasing pitches out of the strike zone and found more success the second time around in the batting order as they adapted to the change of Williams.

“Our biggest key is that we try to be patient with him, and when he finally messed up, try to get him,” Trout said. “I didn’t see hitting three home runs against him, but Jose had different plans I guess.”

Gonzalez wasted no time, landing a towering home run on the right field wall in the bottom of the first inning to put the Bobcats on the board.

The Cardinal tied the game in the top of the second on an RBI single from Eddie Park, but Gonzalez pushed the Bobcats ahead with another homer in the fourth.

After going 0-for-5 in Texas State’s 7-3 win over UC Santa Barbara on Friday, Gonzalez reached base in every plate appearance Saturday, adding one walk and one hit per pitch.

“It’s getting more and more comfortable,” Gonzalez said. “Yesterday was the first time in the regionals, I was a little nervous, but that’s fine. You work there. … I don’t have to carry the world. I just have to put good swings on the ball.

Two batters after Gonzalez’s second homer, Wesley Faison extended the margin to 4-1 when he smashed a ball well over the left field wall.

The Bobcats stretched the lead to 5-1 in the fifth, as Ben McClain started the inning with a double and came back to score after a groundout and a defensive pick.

Stanford pulled out a run in the sixth with an RBI brace from Tommy Troy. But Wells, a transfer from Texas Tech, limited the damage, finishing with just two runs allowed as he scatter eight hits and a walk with six strikeouts over seven innings.

Stivors helped the Bobcats out of danger as he blocked two runners in the eighth and ninth innings, finishing his two scoreless frames with five strikeouts while giving up two walks and one hit.

Texas State has a chance to advance to an NCAA Super Regional for the first time as the Bobcats play in the sixth regional in program history and first since 2011.

“We are not afraid of anything. We’re in Texas,” Gonzalez said on ESPNU after Saturday’s win. “Not as fancy as California, especially Palo Alto. So we’re ready for anything.

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Twitter: @GregLuca

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