Special to The Flash
STEPHENVILLE (April 4, 2016) – After dropping two games Saturday, Tarleton head coach Bryan Conger said his team needed “to show some resiliency and pride (Sunday)” and then went on to say “the goal is to come out and truly compete – one pitch at a time – and see what happens.”
In the series finale, the Texans answered the call from their eighth-year skipper as Tarleton scored three unanswered runs after being down to their final out of the game to win on a walk-off base hit from Dylan Kuhn in the 10th inning of Sunday afternoon’s game against the Rams.
“The boys came out today and did a really good job of staying engaged in the game and playing with energy,” said Conger after Sunday’s win. “They battled through the adversity of the game and found a way to get it done. Hopefully, we will build off of that and gain momentum heading into the second half of conference play.”
The rally started in the bottom of the ninth after Angelo State scored on a two-out, two run single in the top of the inning.
Kuhn, who would go on to be the hero in the following inning, started the ninth with a well-placed bloop double down the right field line. After a flyball out, Alec Humphreys ripped a line drive into left field to put runners on the corners with one away for Jake Hasbrouck.
Hasbrouck, who hit .538 in the series with a pair of RBIs, hit a sharp groundball to second for what appeared to be a game-ending double play ball. The Tarleton three-hole hitter turned on the jets to get down the line, beat out the throw, score Kuhn from third to make it a 4-3 game, and extend the inning for the offense.
Hasbrouck was lifted for pinch-runner Matt Olive, who moved to third when Landon Thompsonreached on an error during the next at bat. Olive then came in to score the tying run on a wild pitch to send the game to extras.
Hunter Houston came out of the bullpen and sat the Rams down in order in the tenth to set up Tarleton’s walk off.
Landon Merka opened the Tarleton half of the inning with a double to deep right center. He moved to third on a bunt single from Peter McMahon before Zach Fleet reached on a hit by pitch to load the bases with no one out for Kuhn, who ripped a line drive off the glove of the third baseman in a drawn in infield.
The late-inning theatrics were set up when Tarleton scored two runs in the first inning on an RBI single from Hasbrouck, who then came in to score the second run on a three-error play from the Angelo defense to put Tarleton up 2-0 in the first. The team that scored first won each game of this weekend’s series.
Not to be outdone by the late-inning heroics was Blain Bagley, who earned the start coming off a career-best pitching performance in Kingsville last weekend. The senior lefty tossed 5.2 innings of work, allowing two runs – one earned – on five hits and two walks while striking out five. He was replaced in the sixth by Zach Freeman, who picked off Bagley’s final base runner to end the inning before throwing a pitch to the plate.
Freeman gave Tarleton 3.1 innings of relief, allowing two runs on three hits with three strikeouts, before giving way to Houston.
The Texans will take a one-game hiatus from LSC play this Wednesday when they host St. Mary’s at 3 p.m. in Stephenville. Tarleton will return to conference play next weekend with a three-game series against West Texas A&M, beginning Friday at 3 p.m.