SPECIAL TO THE FLASH
SAN ANTONIO (February 5, 2016) – Tarleton got back in the win column in a big way Friday by knocking off Heartland Conference, in-region rivals Lubbock Christian and St. Edward’s to sweep its day-two slate in San Antonio.
Tarleton broke a 2-2 tie when Taylor Fitzgerald scored on an error in the top of the seventh, ultimately opening the flood gates as the No. 10 TexAnns scored four in the final inning to beat Lubbock Christian 6-2 in Friday’s opening game of the NCAA Division II College Classic at St. Mary’s
The opening three innings were a good ol’ fashioned pitcher’s duel as the team’s combined for just one hit and two total base runners over the first two innings before Tarleton scored a solo run in the third with some small ball. Mikayla Stogsdill opened the inning with a single and moved over on a sacrifice bunt and a bunt base hit from Lauren Powers to put runners on the corners with one away. Stogsdill came in to score the first run of the game on a double steal.
As Tarleton’s Haley Freyman continued to deal from the circle, the TexAnn offense tacked on another in the top of the fourth to bring home Katelyn Conlee for a 2-0 lead.
A Tarleton error in the fourth inning extended the inning and ultimately allowed for the Lady Chaps to plate a pair and tie the game up at 2-2. Freyman stopped the bleeding with a ground out to second base, stranding one running in the bottom of the fourth.
The teams traded goose eggs over the next two innings before Tarleton opened things up in the seventh.
Taylor Fitzgerald led off the inning with a single to left and moved to second on a sacrifice from Powers. After the first out of the inning allowed Fitzgerald to move to third base, Amanda Connerreached on an error that allowed the senior to score and open the flood gates for the TexAnns.
Conner came around to score on the next at bat when Conlee laced a double down the leftfield line.Nyka Wood had the big blast of the inning when the sophomore catcher unloaded for a two-run home run to left center to cap off the inning. Freyman polished off her gem of a performance by shutting down the Lady Chaps in the seventh to seal Tarleton’s fourth win of the season.
The sophomore right-hander pitched all seven innings en route to her third win of the young campaign. Freyman allowed just two runs – neither earned – on three hits and five walks while striking out seven. She has 16 strikeouts in her two starts this weekend.
Meanwhile, the offense got three multi-hit efforts as Conlee, Stogsdill, and Powers went 2-4, 2-3, and 2-2, respectively. Fitzgerald and Wood had one hit each on the day.
Less than 24 hours after St. Edward’s handed Tarleton its first loss of the season, the TexAnns went back to work against the Hilltoppers and starting pitcher Lauren Slatten by getting a three-run, game-winning home run from Taylor Fitzgerald in the top of the eighth inning to improve to 5-1 on the year.
Tarleton got to Slatten right away when Melody Mayse singled and stole second before scoring on an RBI base hit from Nyka Wood for a 1-0 Tarleton lead in the first.
After St. Edward’s got an RBI of its own three innings later to even the score, Tarleton retook the lead in the top of the fourth when Avery Mullendore scored on a passed ball with the bases loaded for a 2-1 advantage, which held to the top of the fifth when Tarleton padded the lead with an RBI sacrifice fly from Katelyn Conlee to plate Mayse for a 3-1 lead.
Meanwhile, Alyssa Ringhausen ran into a bit of trouble in the fifth when St. Edward’s when a 2-RBI double and a pinch hit single with two outs chased her from the game in a 3-3 tie. Freyman came on in relief and got a groundball to end the threat. Ringhausen was in complete control over the first four innings of her first start, finishing the game after 4.2 innings and allowing three runs on eight hits with one walks and three strikeouts.
Neither team was able to crack the run column over the final two innings, forcing extras.
Conlee started the eighth inning placed on second base – due to extra inning tournament rules – and moved to third on a single from Wood to set up first-and-third with no one out. Fitzgerald then untied the game with a mighty swing to left field to put Tarleton up 6-3.
A couple of Tarleton errors in the bottom of the eighth allowed an unearned run to score, but Freyman got a groundout to shortstop to cap off the win. Freyman earned her fourth win in six games this season with 3.1 innings of relief, allowing one unearned run on one hit and a walk.
Other than Fitzgerald’s blast in the eighth, which was her only hit of the day, Tarleton got five of its six total hits for the game from Wood (3-3) and Mayse (2-4).
Tarleton will wrap up the NCAA Division II College Classic at St. Mary’s tomorrow at 2 p.m. when the TexAnns play the tournament host, Rattlers, in their first meeting since last season’s NCAA Super Regional Series.