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Orientation Issue Volume 101, Issue 83 Summer 2012 Section C


2C SPORTS

THE UNIVERSITY STAR – SUMMER 2012

content

3 4

CONFERENCE REALIGNMENT

BY CAMERON IRVINE

INSIDE THE LINES

BY JORDAN COLE

6 7

BASEBALL RECAP BY JORDAN COLE SOFTBALL RECAP

BY JOSH BROWN

from the sports desk. As it does for Texas State Athletics, 2012 marks a new beginning for The University Star sports section. For years, the Star has brought Bobcat students and fans all of the stories and headlines throughout the various athletic seasons from the original WAC announcement to articles of fair criticism and praise. Today marks the next chapter of our coverage for the reader, the tweeter and the online viewer. Here are just a few of the upgrades the sports section will be bringing to Star sports readers in 2012: Live tweets – All Bobcat games will carry live game updates from our staff and instant reactions so fans won’t have to wait until Tuesday to get information from the Star. Bobcats will be able to interact with reporters like never before. Readers can follow the staff easily. Writers’ twitter handles will be published in all Star issues this year. Enhanced podcast features – Regular, pre-recorded, robotic podcasts are a thing of the past in all phases of sports broadcasting and journalism. This year, the Bobcat Sports Podcasts will air live first, allowing for better, uncut, quality analysis. Audio interviews with players and coaches and press conference clips will be included and listeners can send in their questions via Twitter and have them answered on the show. New sections to the show, like power rankings and questions of the week are new ways to get our listeners involved. Game of the week coverage – The Star will have pregame and post-

game podcasts for the biggest game of the week along with video highlights and detailed analysis of what went right or wrong for the Bobcats with all the information needed to tell the story. Graphics and statistical improvements – Star Sports is making a conscious effort to improve the graphical presentation in the sports section while bringing all of the stats and leaderboards that diehard sports fanatics won’t be able to get enough of. On top of these print improvements, make sure to check out the Bobcat sports timelines on The University Star’s website at www.universitystar.com Bobcats more in-depth – With random athlete interviews ranging from favorite movies to music to food, getting to know a fan’s favorite athlete will be easier than ever. Want us to interview an athlete? Let us know by email or tweet. It’s as simple as that. With these improvements, our goal for Bobcat fans is to bring a higher quality to the reader and listener while Texas State improves the quality of the athletic programs into the WAC in 2012 and the Sun Belt in 2013 and beyond. For questions regarding the Star in general or to find out information on how to apply, please send all inquiries to starsports@ txstate.edu. —Cameron Irvine, Sports Editor @txstcamirvine

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SUMMER 2012 – THE UNIVERSITY STAR

SPORTS 3C

BOBCATS ON THE MOVE Texas State will join WAC, then leave for Sun Belt

2013 Sun Belt Conference University

2012 Western Athletic Conference

Florida Atlantic

Enrollment ‘11 Record

‘11 Attendance

Last Bowl Game

29,290

1-11

18,163 (30,000) 2008 (W)

Enrollment ‘11 Record

‘11 Attendance

Last Bowl Game

Middle Tennessee State 24,660

2-10

18,415 (30,788) 2010 (L)

Idaho

12,312

2-10

11,980 (16,000)

2009 (W)

South Alabama

15,007

6-4

18,442 (40,646) N/A

Louisiana Tech

11,581

8-5

21,518 (30,600) 2011 (L)

Troy

29,689

3-9

17,898 (30,000) 2010 (W)

New Mexico State 18,497

4-9

15,138 (30,343) 1960 (W)

Western Kentucky

18,391

7-5

15,310 (22,000) N/A

San Jose State

33,805

5-7

18,214 (30,456) 2006 (W)

Arkansas-Little Rock

13,176

N/A

Non-Football

Utah State

28,994

7-6

17,468 (25,513)

2011 (L)

Arkansas State

13,415

10-3

22,677 (30,964) 2011 (L)

Denver

11,885

N/A

Non-Football

N/A

Louisiana Lafayette

16,885

9-4

29,171 (31,000)

Seattle

7,755

N/A

Non-Football

N/A

Louisiana Monroe

8,632

4-8

15,512 (30,427) N/A

UTA

33,421

N/A

Non-Football

N/A

Georgia State

28,155

3-8

14,286 (28,155) N/A

UTSA

30,968

4-6

35,521 (65,000) N/A

Texas State

34,113

6-6

15,106 (30,000) N/A

Texas State

34,113

6-6

15,106 (30,000) N/A

UTA

33,421

N/A

Non-Football

University

N/A 2011 (W)

N/A

Conference Realignment In the past two years, the landscape of FBS Football has and will change drastically with conferences playing championship games against each other, picking apart other conferences’ member schools and each athletic program in the country having a “fend for yourself” mentality. Below is the shuffling of schools which directly affects Texas State and the conference outlook for the Bobcats in the future. School

‘11 Conference

Boise State

‘12 Conference

‘13 Conference

Football Only

Mountain West Mountain West

Big East

Yes

San Diego Mountain West Mountain West State

Big East

Yes

Memphis

Conference USA

Conference USA

Big East

-

SMU

Conference USA

Conference USA

Big East

-

UCF

Conference USA

Conference USA

Big East

-

Houston

Conference USA

Conference USA

Big East

-

UTSA

Southland

WAC

Conference USA

-

-

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Louisiana Tech

Sun Belt

Sun Belt

Conference USA

Florida Int.

Sun Belt

Sun Belt

Conference USA

-

North Texas

Sun Belt

Sun Belt

Conference USA

-

Fresno State

WAC

Mountain West Mountain West

-

Nevada

WAC

Mountain West Mountain West

-

Hawaii

WAC

Mountain West Mountain West

Yes

San Jose State

WAC

WAC

Mountain West

-

Utah State

WAC

WAC

Mountain West

-

Georgia State

Independent

CAA

Sun Belt

-

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Sun Belt

Sun Belt

Sun Belt

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4C SPORTS

THE UNIVERSITY STAR – SUMMER 2012

McVaney lauded as skilled athlete, achieved individual By Jordan Cole Sports Reporter

Some might say that they never would have expected to see Jeff McVaney playing collegiate baseball at a nationally competitive program, amidst his fourth and final Southland Conference Tournament. They might have instead assumed that he would be making headlines skating on ice and slapping a puck in the back of the net. “My earliest memories of Jeff’s athletic career were probably playing hockey,” said John McVaney, Jeff McVaney’s father. “He played ice hockey growing up and was actually even recruited by Boston College. Both he and his brother Thomas played and could have been the best two hockey players in Texas at the time. They could play and he’s actually got a YouTube video with a few thousand hits to prove it.” While it may seem that drawing connections between hockey and baseball is like comparing apples and oranges, McVaney said that he was able to find a middle-ground to stand on when looking at the two sports. “I think it works your body in different muscles, which is good for training and what not, but I think that the toughness in hockey is cool,” McVaney said. “Hockey guys are some of the toughest guys out there, and I’d say that carries over into parts of my baseball game.” His first interest in hockey started when he lived in Penn sylvania, and that was the sport to play. However, Kathryn Parker, Staff Photographer upon moving to Texas, he realized he was now living

in football country and decided to devote his time and talents to football and baseball. “I moved to Texas and there was a league in Houston I was playing in that I loved,” McVaney said. “It got to my junior year in high school though and I was like, ‘Down south you have to play football and baseball.’ So, I ended up hanging up the skates and focusing on those.” McVaney, the career saves leader in school history, also has the third most homeruns and is fifth in hits. His stats certainly do not go unrecognized either. He achieved second team all-conference honors his freshman and sophomore seasons, first team all-conference for last season, and was a preseason first team all-conference selection. Yet despite all of the recognition, his father says he is most proud of his son’s character. “I’m most proud of the fact that he’s just a great kid,” said John. “He works hard, his grades are tremendous, and he’s really caused us no trouble. We’re just fortunate to be blessed with him and his three brothers who are all the same way, too.” McVaney has played in 162 games as a Bobcat, placing him 12th all-time in games played in a career, but he said that as of now his greatest memory would be the monstrous threehomerun performance he put up last May versus McNeese State. “Hopefully, I’m not done making memories, but probably hitting three homeruns in a game is the big one,” McVaney said. “Playing in two regionals is a pretty big one, too.” Coach Ty Harrington has had the opportunity to coach McVaney for four years now and said that what he would think of when hearing the name ‘Jeff McVaney’ 20 years down the road is his tough demeanor and competitive spirit. “He’s a tremendous competitor and great athlete,” Harrington said. “When the game is on the line, he is the kind of person you want in there. He has helped us win a lot of championships, and what you see is the end result of what he has done. That’ll be exactly what I think.” Twitter: @TxStatesman

Jeff McVaney competed in four conference tournaments during his career as a Bobcat and is an avid hockey player.

Conference realignment disappoints Bobcat fans, but has positive aspects

By Jordan Brewer Assistant Sports Editor The majority feeling around San Marcos and the Bobcat community has been negatively struck by the disbandment of the Western Athletic Conference and acceptance into the Sun Belt Conference starting the 2013 school year. Most Texas State observers were hoping to gain a bid into Mountain West or the Conference USA, whose numbers of members have grown into double digits, including the Bobcats’ rival down I-35: UTSA, who will play in C-USA in 2013. The move to the WAC was seen as an instant upgrade to most as the Bobcat program was finally heading in the appropriate direction and possibly into a “golden era” for its university. Swing and a miss. In college athletics, conference realignment can be a game of musical chairs at times (or nearly all of the time), and in this case Texas State was left standing. However, it should be appreciated for a second (or for the duration of this column) that the program is finally making serious moves in the

Football Bowl Subdivision world of athletics, even though it can be unsettling. Let’s get this out of the way: the Sun Belt is not the WAC, Mountain West or Conference USA. A bid to Mountain West or C-USA would have been the Mercedes-Benz option for the program. It enabled the football stadium expansion, the new track and field venue and most importantly a higher class of programs to compete against. But I am an optimistic person so let’s not jump in front of one of the numerous trains running through Aquarena Springs just yet. Although it’s already been stated, the Sun Belt is a better conference than the Southland and will allow the Bobcats to participate in FBS football. FBS football has its perks. Most important is the increased amount of scholarships to 85 from 63. The increased amount will allow Coach Franchione and the rest of the coaching staff to actively recruit for more depth. It will also relieve the pressure of keeping players healthy and eligible for play. Another positive note is the increased media market of the Sun Belt compared to the Southland. The Southland network covers a three-state region and only had 31 live events in the ’10’11 season. The Sun Belt market covers nine states, which would generate more money for all of those involved. There has been a 25 percent increase in football coverage by the Sun Belt Network, according to the conference’s website. Interestingly, more sports will be available if the sports program decides to expand. The Bobcats have 14 sports

currently and the conference allows 19. The lacking team sports are men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis and men’s and women’s indoor track and field. It’s easy to find positives to the Sun Belt when compared to the Southland, but it’s expectedly more difficult when comparing it to the WAC, MWC or CUSA. However, there are some intriguing aspects to being in the Sun Belt conference when it comes to their competition. Sun Belt football teams have won 50 percent of their bowl games since 2005, which is superior to four other FBS football conferences: ACC, Big 10, Conference USA, and (drum roll) the WAC. Karl Benson, the new Sun Belt commissioner, held the same position with the WAC conference and is very familiar with Texas State athletics. It’s difficult to stay positive, especially just months after being left “conference-less” once the WAC started getting picked apart one by one. Not getting a bid to the new super conference was like not being invited to the popular kid’s birthday party when your enemy did. Texas State athletics is moving in the right direction, just not as fast as it once was. Texas State lost out on driving the Mercedes, but the Bobcats are still able to drive a nice Dodge or Ford pickup. Hey, at least Texas State isn’t driving a Ford Tempo anymore. Twitter: @@jbrewer32

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SUMMER 2012 – THE UNIVERSITY STAR

SPORTS 5C


6C SPORTS

THE UNIVERSITY STAR – SUMMER 2012

BASEBALL

Despite successes, season ends with tournament exit

Where the good meat is

Kathryn Parker, Staff Photographer

The Bobcats celebrate their victory over the Lumberjacks May 23 at Bobcat Baseball Stadium. Texas State defeated SFA 11-1. Bobcat baseball finished third place in their final year of the Southland Conference. By Jordan Cole Sports Reporter

Casey Kalenkosky, senior first baseman, makes contact with the ball sending it over the fence May 23 at Bobcat Baseball Stadium. The Bobcats defeated the Lumberjacks 11-1. hitting .338 on the season and knocking 10 pitches out of the park. Harrington said his versatility and reliability has been crucial to the team’s success and will be missed. “It’s been great having him, and we’ve used him in a lot of different roles,” Harrington said. “Whether it’s out of the bullpen, in the field or at the plate, he’s been great for us and we’re going to miss him.” Other all-conference selections include senior catcher Andrew Stumph and junior LHP Colton Turner who earned second team all-conference. Senior Casey Kalenkosky earned third team all-SLC. The run of three conference titles in a row was a task few programs in the nation have accomplished but just because it has ended, it does not mean the success of the baseball team will cease to exist. Harrington and the team feel as though they will be just fine as the team moves into the WAC next season. “We will be alright,” Harrington said. “We’re going to go to work in the off-season and build off of what these seniors have created for this program. We will be ready to go next year.” Twitter: @TxStatesman

Win percentage in games when team had chance to sweep Southland opponent. Games played and started for Jeff McVaney in 2011 and 2012 (played and started in all games).

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The mood was heavy when the Southland Conference Tournament concluded for Texas State, as they fell 9-7 in heartbreaking fashion to Stephen F. Austin, a Lumberjack team they run-ruled just two days earlier. The loss almost assuredly ended their season and finalized their record at 32-24. At that point, making it to regionals, and consequently maybe even Omaha, meant winning the SLC tournament. However, that did not happen, and the only hope the Bobcats had to advance was having the selection committee vote them in. That glimmer of hope was shaded quickly when the committee released its final results on May 27 and Texas State’s name was not included in the field. Baseball is a long season and Coach Ty Harrington knows that players have to play to their highest potential if they want to make it past the conference tournaments. “Baseball is a crazy game and you have to bring it every time you step on the field,” Harrington said. “If you don’t, then anyone can win really. I thought we battled back from some things that happened in the middle of the season. Tournament play is a different game.” That mantra is surely being repeated in the heads of everyone on the team. The Bobcats had the third toughest nonconference schedule in the entire nation this past year, yet they managed to collect many staple wins. They achieved victories over 18th ranked TCU and 16th ranked Oregon twice, the No. 4 ranked Rice Owls, 37th ranked Wichita State, Houston, and a three game sweep of Notre Dame. The number of wins over ranked opponents alone usually would have been enough for the Bobcats to make it into the final 64. However, in conference, the team struggled with inconsistencies to a 19-14 record. As a result, they will be watching the games at home instead of knocking the dirt off their spikes as they step to the plate to further their season. Not all is a loss for Texas State, as many Bobcats posted career best numbers. Travis Ballew received the honor of SLC Pitcher of the Year and a place on the first team squad after leading the conference in both wins and strikeouts. Jeff McVaney also joined him on the first team SLC list after

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SUMMER 2012 – THE UNIVERSITY STAR

SOFTBALL

SPORTS 7C

Team finishes with highest win total since 2009

Star File Photo

Chandler Hall ended her career with the Bobcats as a threetime Southland Conference tournament MVP and ended last season with an 11-0 record overall. Star File Photo

Texas State Softball finished the season with an overall record of 39-17, placing them first in the Southland Conference division. The Bobcats went on to win the conference tournament but fell to Texas A&M in regionals. By Josh Brown Sports Reporter Texas State softball ended its 2012 season in the semi-finals of the College Station Regional, after winning the Southland Conference Tournament for the second-straight year. Chandler Hall, senior pitcher, did not allow a hit for 16-consecutive innings, including a no-hitter to clinch the SLC championship. LSU broke that streak with three-straight singles in the seventh inning to beat the Bobcats 1-0 in a walk-off for the first game of the regional. “It’s cool I did that, but it doesn’t matter,” Hall said of the hitless streak. “I was willing to pitch as long as it took for us to score some runs. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.” The Bobcats responded the next day with a 5-3 win against Bethune-Cookman to avoid a quick exit in the double-elimination tournament. Anne Marie Taylor, junior pitcher, gave up a three-run homer in the seventh inning, but ended the game with her sixth strikeout to seal the victory. Texas State’s next game was its last, as No. 8 Texas A&M hit five home runs, four in the same inning, to take a 7-4 victory. Hall allowed six runs on eight hits

in four and two-third innings, and twice gave up backto-back bombs. “There were a couple pitches where I missed the spot,” Hall said. “I think (A&M) was seeing the ball well, and they took big-time advantage of the mistakes I threw. I just hung it up there.” Texas State took a 2-0 lead in the first frame on a double by Hall, but stranded 11 base runners after recording 13 hits. The loss was the furthest Texas State softball played in a NCAA regional since 2009 in Waco. “I could not be more proud of this team to get us this far,” Coach Ricci Woodard said. “I think we left nine base runners on in the first four innings. You put yourself in a bind when you do that. (A&M is) a good team and they have great pitching.” Texas State finished the season, its last in the SLC, with a 39-17 overall record, the highest win total since the 2009 season. The Bobcats had six players voted to the all-conference teams, five to the SLC tournamentteam and two to the All-Regional team and lost just twice at home all season. Hall, who went 11-0 in conference play, was named the SLC Pitcher and Player of the Year, becoming the first player to win both awards since Texas State’s Ragan Blake did so in 2008. Hall also won the SLC

Tournament MVP for the third time in her career, and is the second player to win three Pitcher of the Year awards in SLC history. “It’s awesome to end my senior year that way,” Hall said. “I haven’t ever really looked at the stats, but it’s pretty cool.” Selena Hernandez, freshman shortstop, provided the Bobcats with a catalyst leadoff hitter all season, something the team had been searching for, according to Woodard. Hernandez knocked in both runs in a 2-1 victory against Sam Houston State to begin the SLC Tournament, and went 4-for-4 in the final game against A&M. “She’s got tons of talent and there’s only going to be great things to come from here,” Woodard said. “To have a freshman in this spotlight go four-for-four is a great spot for Texas State to be in for the future.” Hall finished the season 22-8 with a 1.73 ERA and 214 strikeouts in 193 innings. Taylor led the SLC with a 1.71 ERA and had a 17-8 record. Hernandez finished third on the team with a .301 batting average and led in runs (28), hits (55), doubles (10) and total bases (71). Twitter: @joshnathanbrown

Goals for season ticket sales set high for stadium expansion By Jordan Brewer Assistant Sports Editor Season ticket sales and the number of customers who shell out the big bucks for all six home games must increase for the stadium expansion to become a worthwhile investment, with almost twice as many seats to fill in the new and improved Bobcat Stadium for this coming season. Joe Verschueren, director of ticket sales and operations, is a major part of ramping up those sales. “We surpassed our goal last year so [attendance] certainly will go up at this point,” Verschueren said. “We would like to sell at least 6,000 season tickets as our goal. We sold 2,200 last year so that would be a big increase, and that does not include a lot of the tickets we have for sponsors.” With that goal, Bobcat Athletics is looking to nearly triple their season ticket sales from 2011 to 2012. Average attendance last year was 15,106, with season ticket holders making up 6.86 percent of spectators. Josh Whittenburg, coordinator of ticket sales and marketing, said the Bobcats try to use the strengths they have over area colleges to attract every college football fan. “Our product is uniquely different from Charlie Kitchen, Staff Photographer UT and UTSA,” Whittenburg said. “We can The Bobcat Stadium construction is nearing its final stages. The bowl-style renovations have completely offer some affordability that you can’t get with your average ticket at UT, yet we have connected all sections of the stadium. a little bit more pride and tradition than UTSA. We try to promote both our history and that we’re growing and changing and we’re excited about people coming along for the ride to the WAC and the Sun Belt.”

Game attendance continues to rise at Bobcat Stadium

Season ticket sales started March 30 in preparation for the biggest game in Bobcat Athletics history when Texas State hosts Texas Tech in the home opener on September 8. Texas Tech fans are not waiting either. Some Red Raiders are gobbling up the cheap season ticket prices to make sure they have a seat for the matchup because the Bobcats’ season ticket prices are not much higher than an individual game price at Texas Tech. That’s not necessarily to the favor of Verschueren, despite the fact the season ticket money is coming in. “We hope to have the stadium full of Texas State folks and Bobcat fans,” Verschueren said. “Hopefully their fans will want to use the visiting tickets we provide because they would be able to sit together. But at the same time, we’re not going to say, ‘Did you graduate from Texas Tech’ to determine if we sell them tickets. That wouldn’t be feasible.” Verschueren said as part of Texas State’s contract for the game, the school will be providing Texas Tech fans 5,000 tickets, one-sixth of the renovated Bobcat Stadium capacity. Last year, season ticket prices cost $90 while general admission seating cost $72. This year, there won’t be any general admission seats and the ticket prices will range from $80-$130 with premier seating requiring a donation not included in the season ticket sale price. Twitter: @jbrewer32


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