SPECIAL TO THE FLASH
STEPHENVILLE (April 23, 2016) – Melody Mayse, Katelyn Conlee, Lauren Powers, Rebeka Allen, and Taylor Fitzgerald played their final career games at the friendly confines of the Tarleton Softball Complex in a Saturday afternoon split with Eastern New Mexico.
“I’ve been so blessed to coach this team,” said head coach Julie Mata. “I love this group of seniors and each of these ladies.”
One inning was the difference between a 2-0 pitcher’s duel and a 10-2 shellacking as Tarleton plated 10 runs in the bottom of the fifth inning – including a two-run walk-off single by Melody Mayse – to win the series after the first three games.
Eastern New Mexico struck first for a one-out home run in the top of the first to take a 1-0 lead off Tarleton and starter Haley Freyman, but then the TexAnn right-hander found her groove and posted goose eggs over the next four innings.
Meanwhile, Tarleton was held hitless over the first three innings before a single from Katelyn Conleeand a double by Shelby Hedrick put Tarleton in the hit column in the fourth.
The TexAnns were unable to capitalize in the fourth and the Greyhounds tacked on one more in the fifth to take a 2-0 lead before Tarleton’s offense came to life in a big way in the ensuing half inning.
Avery Mullendore and Taylor Fitzgerald led off the bottom of the fifth with a double and a walk to lead things off before Melody Mayse stepped in and turned the game around with one might swing of the bat as the senior blasted off to deep right center for a three-run home run to put Tarleton on top 3-2.
But the TexAnns weren’t done yet.
Tarleton tacked on one more to lead 4-2 and then loaded the bases with one out, setting up Rebeka Allen with the bases full of TexAnns. Allen cashed in with a two-run double off the centerfield wall. Then Avery Mullendore brought home a pair with a two-RBI single and, after a Taylor Fitzgeraldsingle up the middle, Mayse finished what she started in the inning with a two-run single up the middle to walk Tarleton off with its third straight win.
The TexAnn offense scored 10 runs on 11 hits for the game, led by a 3-for-4 effort by Mayse with five RBIs. Mullendore also had a multi-hit day with two base hits while Wood, Conlee, Shelby Hedrick,Savannah Stech, Allen, and Fitzgerald had one hit each in the game.
Meanwhile, Haley Freyman earned her 23rd win of the season – tying her freshman campaign for the second-most wins by a Tarleton pitcher in a single season. The sophomore threw all five innings, allowing seven hits and two runs with two strikeouts.
A five-run second inning proved to be too much to overcome as Tarleton’s rally efforts came up just short in a 9-7 loss to Eastern New Mexico in Saturday’s regular season finale.
Eastern New Mexico broke through for its biggest inning of the series in the second with five runs on five hits and a pair of Tarleton errors to take a 5-0 lead but Tarleton started to chip away at the deficit beginning in the third when Lauren Powers was hit by a pitch and came around to score on an RBI double off the centerfield wall by Nyka Wood to make it 5-1.
The Greyhounds continued to score with two more in the top of the fourth to put Tarleton in its biggest deficit of the weekend at 7-1, but Tarleton continued to grind away at the Eastern New Mexico pitching staff as Rebeka Allen and Avery Mullendore set up a two-out situation with two away in the bottom of the fourth before Taylor Fitzgerald drove them both home with a double to left-center to bring Tarleton within 7-3.
After Eastern tacked on one in the fifth and one more in the sixth to extend their lead to 9-3, Tarleton rallied with a pair of two-out runs in the bottom of the sixth when Lauren Powers ripped a two-run single up the middle to plate Allen and Mullendore and cut the deficit to 9-5 heading into the final frame. Haley Freyman worked around a two-out walk and single in the top of the seventh to give the TexAnns one final trip to the plate in the bottom of the seventh.
Trailing by four in the final inning, Katelyn Conlee sparked the Tarleton offense by leading off the inning with a double. After an out, Stech drew a walk before Rebeka Allen ripped a double down the left field line to bring home Conlee and cut the deficit to three. Avery Mullendore followed suit with an RBI single through the left side to bring the go-ahead run to the plate at 9-7.
A pop-up to third, however, brought an end to the game with runners on the corners.
Tarleton had 10 hits in Saturday’s finale, led by two-hit performances by Wood, Allen, and Mullendore. Mayse, Powers, Conlee, and Fitzgerald had one hit each to round out the offense.
After the game, Tarleton recognized its five seniors as well as head coach Julie Mata, who completed her 20th season at the helm of Tarleton Softball.