HOUSTON – Tarleton battled against St. Mary’s and brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth but couldn’t complete the comeback in an 8-5 loss to the Rattlers in the final game of the Winter Invitational at Minute Maid Park Sunday night.
St. Mary’s scored a pair of runs over the first two innings while Tarleton struggled to find any offense early on, sitting down in order the first time through the order. Tarleton broke through in the run column in the top of the fifth when Zach Mesa drove in Colby Seltzer, who led off the inning with a walk, with a one-out, RBI fielder’s choice to cut the deficit in half at 2-1.
The Rattlers had a three-run answer in the ensuing half-inning, though, and extended the lead out to 5-1 after five.
Following a scoreless sixth, Tarleton boasted a three spot of their own – once again sparked by a Seltzer leadoff walk. After Tarleton loaded the bases with two away, Tyler Fowler cashed in with a bases-clearing, three-run triple to center field to bring Tarleton back within 5-4.
St. Mary’s padded the lead with one in the seventh and two in the eighth, but Tarleton would not go away.
Tyler Parker led off the ninth with a single and came in to score two batters later on a RBI fielder’s choice from Jake Spence. With Jordan Parker on second – after a single that set up Spence’s RBI – Fowler kept the game alive by coaxing a two-out walk to bring the tying run to the plate, but a strikeout ended the rally attempt.
Tyler Parker and Sam Scarborough led the offense with two hits each while Fowler, Jon Law, and Jacob Walker had one hit each to round out the seven-hit attack.
Sid Payan took the loss with 4.1 innings of work. The sophomore allowed four runs – three earned – on two hits and five walks while striking out three. Michael Pilato, Connor Flanagan, Mitchell Morris, and Zach Svensson combined to finish out the game on the mound.
Tarleton will rematch with St. Mary’s next weekend in San Antonio for a three-game series, beginning Friday afternoon.