Special to The Flash
STEPHENVILLE (March 29, 2016) – Led by two home runs and five RBIs from Nyka Wood, Tarleton pounded out 17 runs on 22 hits in Tuesday’s two-game sweep of St. Edward’s at the Tarleton Softball Complex.
Joining Wood among the offensive powers of the afternoon was Shelby Hedrick, who hit .714 by going 5-for-7 with two runs and three doubles. Katelyn Conlee also hit over .600 on the afternoon, going 4-for-6 with two runs scored and four RBIs.
“We really hit the ball well against a good pitching staff today,” said head coach Julie Mata. “Becky (Allen) came up with a very big at bat in a clutch situation in game two – really showing great leadership. I was proud of our quality at bats. It’s really good to have our team getting back healthy and getting our energy rolling again.”
Game 1: Tarleton 8, St. Edward’s 0 (5)
Tarleton’s dominance was on display from the get-go as the TexAnns wasted no time in winning their 20th game of the season with an 8-0 victory over St. Edward’s in game one Tuesday afternoon.
Catcher Nyka Wood got things started off quickly with a two-run home run – her fifth long ball this season – over the left field wall for a 2-0 Tarleton lead. Meanwhile, her battery mate Haley Freyman was in complete control from inside the pitching circle.
Freyman tossed her 21 complete game and third complete game shutout of the season en route to earning her 15th win of the season. She was even in control of the game defensively as Freyman had a defensive hand in setting down the first seven outs of the ball game with three ground balls back to the circle, two strikeouts, and a line drive back to the pitcher that she snagged and flipped to first base for a double play.
For the game, Freyman earned the shutout by pitching all five innings over which she allowed just three hits and struck out five without walking a batter.
As Freyman continued to deal, her offense had no problem putting plenty of run support on the board.
Wood and Shelby Hedrick got a four-run inning started with one out in the third on a walk and a double before Katelyn Conlee brought them both home with a two-run double to left center for a 4-0 Tarleton lead that also chased the Hilltopper starter from the game.
Savannah Stech greeted the new arm from the bullpen by reaching on an error before stealing second while Conlee swiped home for a 5-0 TexAnn lead. After a single from Avery Mullendore, Rebeka Allen capped off the four-run frame with an RBI groundout for a 6-0 advantage.
Tarleton capped things off with two in the fourth on an RBI double from Conlee and an RBI single from Hedrick before Freyman got two groundouts and a looking strikeout to end the game.
The offense scored eight runs on nine base hits, including a 3-for-3 effort from Hedrick in the cleanup spot. Conlee also had two hits while Lauren Powers, Wood, Mullendore, and Delaney Wayland had one each.
Game 2: Tarleton 9, St. Edward’s 4
Not even the top pitcher in the Heartland Conference could tame the TexAnn bats Tuesday as Tarleton pounded out 13 hits and handed St. Edward’s a sweep with a 9-4 victory.
Tarleton’s offense squared off against the Heartland Conference leader in ERA, Lauren Slatten (1.99), and wasted no time in keeping the runs coming. The TexAnns scored one in the bottom of the first on a hard-hit single off the third baseman from Katelyn Conlee to bring home Melody Mayse with two outs
After the Hilltoppers struck for two runs in the top of the second to take the lead, Tarleton took it right back with two in their half of the inning when Mayse drove in Alyssa Ringhausen with a two-out, RBI triple to left center. Then she came in to score Tarleton’s third run of the game on a wild pitch for a 3-2 Tarleton lead. Nyka Wood extended the lead to 4-2 with her second home run of the day on a blast to left field before St. Edward’s answered with a pair of two-out runs in the top of the fourth to even things up at 4-4 down the stretch.
The game stayed even at 4-4 over the next inning before Tarleton’s Rebeka Allen came up with a clutch two-out, two strike, two-run line drive back up the middle for a 6-4 lead off Slatten in the bottom of the fifth.
The top of the Tarleton order kept the two-out rally rolling in the bottom of the fifth when Melody Mayse drove in Stech from second with an RBI single into right. After an infield single from Lauren Powers, Nyka Wood ripped a two-run single down the left field line to put Tarleton up 9-4 and chase Slatten from the game after 4.2 innings of work.
Neither team would score again as Haley Freyman earned the win in relief. The sophomore improved to 16-13 with 3.1 innings of relief, over which she allowed no runs on two hits. She came on to relieve starter Shelby Hedrick, who went the first 3.2 innings and allowed four runs on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts.
Led by a 3-for-4 effort from Wood, Tarleton had five total players with a multi-hit effort in the game. Wood marked the only three-hit outing while Mayse, Hedrick, Conlee, and Stech each had two hits. Powers and Allen had one hit each to round out the 13-hit attack.
The TexAnns, who have now won six of their last eight, will hit the road this weekend for a four-game road series at Texas A&M-Commerce beginning Friday.