By Travis Atkinson
Texas State pitcher Randi Rupp didn’t disappoint on opening weekend, leading the Bobcats to a 5-1 record in the Century Link Classic Softball Tournament.
Rupp dominated the weekend, throwing 35 strikeouts in 25 innings, and finished the tournament with an ERA of 0.53. It appears the sophomore is picking right back up from where she left off in 2015. Rupp’s freshman campaign saw her lead the Sun Belt in strikeouts (293) and garner First-Team All-Sun Belt Conference honors.
Rupp’s strong performance to open the season bodes well for the Bobcats, who will look to build on the confidence gained from this weekend.
“It definitely boosts my confidence and it puts us in a great spot to start off the season,” Rupp said. “I kind of lead the mood out there and for me to go out there and be confident it kind of helps the teammates out behind me.”
Rupp’s performance came as no surprise really; she was named the 2016 Preseason Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year after all. It’s the pitching behind her that has had Bobcat fans worried this off-season. Fortunately, the Bobcats addressed this area of need with the arrival of transfers Paige Williams and Quincy Charleston.
Williams, a junior from Temple College, made two starts in her three appearances, and pitched a total of 13.1 innings this weekend. In all, she tallied 11 strikeouts and posted a 2.10 ERA. Her performance Friday in her Texas State debut versus Abilene Christian earned her significant praise from Bobcat Head Coach Ricci Woodard.
“Anytime you throw a new kid out there and they get five strikeouts in two innings you can’t ask much more than that,” Woodard said. “I thought she got exactly what she needed to get: some great experience, and she did a good job.”
Williams wasn’t the only transfer to make her mark for the Bobcats this weekend. Corrina Liscano, a junior out of Howard College, quickly established herself as one of the premier batters in the ‘Cats lineup. The third-basemen connected on seven of her 16 at-bats, tallied two home runs, and had five RBI.
Her signature moment came in the tournament finale. With the Bobcats trailing 3-2 and struggling to get anything going offensively, Liscano knocked a home run into left-center to tie the game. Liscano’s home run would set up an Ariel Ortiz walk-off single to win the game two batters later. Woodard commended Liscano’s competitiveness after the game.
“Liscano wants to win ball games,” she said. “There’s not a kid out here in my opinion that wants to win ball games more than she does.”
Solid play from these new additions will be vital for the Bobcats going forward, as they add valuable experience to a relatively young roster.
“That’s one of the reasons why you bring in transfers instead of freshman sometimes,” Woodard said. “Because you know your going to need some experience to take over and cover for you. I think they did exactly what we wanted them to.”
The Bobcat softball team will be back in action next weekend when they travel to Ruston, Louisiana for the Louisiana Tech Spring Tournament. Texas State returns home March 2nd to face the University of Texas.