Kyle Livingstone is a senior first baseman from Ft. Worth, Texas. He was voted to the 2010 preseason all-Southland Conference second team. He batted .314 a season ago with 12 doubles, five home runs and 34 RBI. Livingstone appeared in 49 games with 39 starts. He walked 14 times and struck out 15 in 156 at-bats. Livingstone was hit by seven pitches and posted an on-base percentage of .391. He was also 3 for 5 in stolen base attempts. Livingstone attended Kansas State and Navarro Junior College before arriving in San Marcos. He is majoring in business.

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March 16, 2010

Spring Break, Close Shaves and Speed


Hello fans,


Spring break is a time for college students to take a break from class, head to the beach, and party with friends and work on their tans. Not for college baseball players. We don’t even know what spring break is, because ever since high school we have never had a real spring break. Our spring break consists of practices, team meals, games and maybe one day off thrown in the mix. My middle brother Nathan, who attends Texas State, went down to Panama City Beach, the No. 2 hottest spot for spring breakers. He definitely let me know how great of a time he was having at the beach every day. Punk! I guess the one positive thing about being a baseball player is that you get front row parking next to your apartment complex for an entire week. Yeah, exciting spring break, I know.


Since the last journal you know our offense was having some early struggles and we were losing some close, low-scoring games. This was disappointing for me because I knew it was time for me to shave the goatee I worked so hard to grow. I had put in countless months of growing such a beautiful full patch of hair on my chin. It had become a part of me, but it had to go for the sake of the team. The day after I shaved it I was barley recognizable. The trainers, who had never seen me with a clean-shaven face, were shocked at how young I looked. The joke was that I lost about five years with the departure of the man-beard. However, ever since I shaved, our bats have really come to life. Some would say it’s the extra hitting we have been doing, or the great instruction we receive from our hitting coach, but I know the real answer. It’s all about the baby face. As long as the team keeps hitting, I’m going to have to keep on shaving. I hope I’m shaving all year long.


We had our first conference series a week before the rest of the Southland Conference started and we hosted Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Friday night, our bats were cold and we trailed the majority of the game. Michael Russo pitched a heck of a game and when he left in the eighth trailing, the offense felt terrible for not giving Russo a chance to get the win. But in the bottom of the eighth, we scored three runs and ended up winning in true comeback fashion. It was a huge win for us, because we were on a four-game losing streak and it was the conference opener. This team has a lot of fight. We battled, and it wasn’t pretty, but any win in conference is a good win. We went on to win the series, 2-1, which is a great start to conference play.


Notice, I said 2-1. We dropped Saturday’s game and everyone was pretty down, especially about the offensive side of things. Coach Fikac asked all the hitters to take home a note card and do some homework. He wanted each hitter to write down their approach as they stepped into the batter’s box. The next day, we had a hitters’ team meeting and really focused on our lead-off hitting, two-out hitting and how to deal with tough at-bats early in the game. We went on to have our biggest offensive output since the Houston series, scoring six runs in the first inning. It was really nice to see the offense get rolling and actually score some runs in the first couple of innings.


This last Tuesday we played Texas in Austin. The atmosphere was great with a large crowd and great weather. We had a great Bobcat turnout considering many students were away on spring break. We had a 3-1 lead heading into the eighth inning, but the ghosts of last year’s regional haunted us again. We blew a late lead and lost 4-3. This was a devastating loss. We felt we had out-played Texas the majority of the game. We made the big plays when we had to and scored runs off a top pitching staff. We were so close to getting a big midweek win, and then … it seemed it got ripped out from us. I think we all learned a lesson that will help us in the long run, and that is that you have to play a complete game to win against any top team. Baseball is a crazy game and it is never over until that last out is made. Our bullpen will get better, but we are still looking for someone to really step up and fill that role. Look out for Garret Sheppard. He should be an important factor for the rest of the year.


After the tough loss on Tuesday, we had to move on to a new moment and get ready for Penn State. Our bats really came alive this weekend and it was really great from an offensive perspective. Friday night, I think we had 15 hits, 15 walks, and 4 hit batsmen. The Penn State shortstop said he had never been a part of a game like that, and joked that he met and talked to every one of our players three times that game. Saturday’s game was similar to the series opener, because we really hit the cover off the ball and had another big win.


Sunday’s game was very different. We hit the cover off the ball, but we were hitting straight to their infielders. Penn State tied the game in the ninth inning off a jam-shot single that took a bad hop on Tyler Sibley. We did not want to play extra innings; we wanted to salvage what was left of our spring break. We finished the game off in walk-off fashion with Shaun Garcia delivering a walk-off sacrifice fly. Daylight savings time was Sunday, and the game started at 11 a.m., which gave us some pretty difficult playing circumstances, but it was definitely worth it to see Jason Martinson’s granddad in the stands waving his broom at the end of the series. Bret Atwood joked that after the series our bodies were going to be sore from base-running, but that’s a good problem to have.


On a side note, I hope our fans are really enjoying the freshman walk-up songs this year. It was a lot of hard work finding the perfect songs for the freshmen, but Cody Gambill and I were in charge and I think we did a great job. I have to say my favorites are ‘My Humps’ by the Black Eyed Peas for Andrew Stumph, and ‘Larger than Life’ by the Backstreet Boys for Garrett Sheppard. I think Stumph has finally gotten over laughing every time he steps up to bat, but it definitely took him a while.


Well, spring break is over and it’s back to school. The beach parties, tanning and late nights are all over. Oh wait, that never even started for me. But we got better as a team, got some nice wins and hopefully, we can ride this momentum into Lubbock on Tuesday.


*One final note: I am currently the stolen base leader for the team. I find this quite funny and will try to enjoy the title of the fastest guy on the team while I can. I don’t expect to hold the lead for too long, but to my critics (Taylor Miller, Brock Holt, and Tyler Sibley, etc.) I am the fast kid, again. I will leave you with this last thought “You can’t teach speed. You can only recruit it”.


Always Delaying,


Kyle Livingstone #2


(photos courtesy of Texas State Media Relations Office)