Special to the Flash
Tarleton Athletic Communications
SAN ANTONIO – It’s known as a game of inches – and Friday afternoon, Tarleton State came up a few inches short of a victory in its NCAA Super Regional Series debut against St. Mary’s.
“We had a couple of calls not go our way, but that’s softball,” said Tarleton
head coach Julie Mata. “I felt like we needed to make a couple better decisions in a couple places and we’ll get out and fix it for next time. We’ve got to do some ‘fix-its’ and we’ll look at what we need to fix and work as hard as we can to get it done.”
St. Mary’s took a 1-0 advantage in the best-of-three series in San Antonio with a 4-0 victory Friday afternoon.
Haley Freyman started out in trouble by hitting and walking the first two batters of the game, but the true freshman settled down to get a pair of groundouts and a foul pop-up to Savannah Stech to get out of danger and begin the duel of aces.
Freyman continued to deal over the next four innings, setting the Rattlers down in order in the second and fourth innings and dancing out of danger in the third and fifth. In the fifth, Freyman found herself facing the No. 2 and 3 hitters with runners on second and third and one out but she got a groundball back to herself and strike three looking to end the threat and keep the scoreless affair alive through five.
After five shutout innings from Freyman, the Rattlers led off the bottom of the sixth with a seeing-eye single through the left side to start its only rally of the game.
After a close-call walk on a full-count set up runners on first and second to lead off the inning, the Rattlers loaded the bases with another bang-bang play at first base on a sacrifice bunt that went the way of St. Mary’s. St. Mary’s plated all four of its runs in the sixth without ever hitting a ball out of the infield and took a 4-0 lead into the final half-inning.
Meanwhile, the TexAnn offense struggled to string hits together despite outhitting the Rattlers 6-4 for the day.
Tarleton led off the second with a Nyka Wood single and an Erika Menchaca walk and led off the fourth with a double from Katelyn Conlee. In the sixth, Melody Mayse led off the inning with a single before a bunt from Savannah Stech was waved off and given an out – with Mayse having to retreat to first – on another close decision that didn’t go in Tarleton’s favor and ultimately led to another scoreless frame for the TexAnns.
The TexAnns continued to battle, however, as Mikayla Stogsdill kept things alive with a 3-2, two-out single in the seventh before the game came to an end.
Freyman took the loss to bring her record to 23-13 on the season. She pitched five innings, allowing one run on three hits and two walks, before giving way to Shelby Hedrick, who allowed three unearned runs on one hit in one inning of relief.
Mayse went 2-3 at the dish while Conlee, Wood, Hedrick and Stogsdill rounded out the offense from Tarleton State.
The TexAnns will need to win two games Saturday to keep their season alive and advance to the NCAA Division II College World Series in Oklahoma City next weekend. The first pitch for game two of the series is scheduled for 12 p.m. in San Antonio.
“We’ve never been out of the fight all season and we’re still not out of the fight,” said Mata. “God is amazing and I’m very serious when I say give all the glory to God on that.”