No. 14 Tarleton holds on to win conference opener in wild finish at Cameron

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LAWTON, Okla. – Tarleton set the tone early with a seven-run first inning and staved off a seventh-inning Cameron rally to start Lone Star Conference play with a win Friday afternoon at McMahon Field in Lawton.

Cameron cracked the door by leading off the game with an error and the Tarleton offense ripped it off the hinges.

A leadoff error allowed Elizabeth Svienty to reach and a bunt single from Georgia Capell set up the Tarleton offense. Two batters later, Destiny Crumpley loaded the bases with a hit by pitch before Kadyn Kirkpatrick cashed in on a two-run single through the left side for a 2-0 Tarleton lead.

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Amanda Conner cleared the bases with her first home run of the season – a three-run job to right center – that extended the lead out to 5-0, but Tarleton wasn’t done yet. Morgan Ling followed up with a double down the left field line and Karli Herron capped off the scoring with her first home of the season – a two-run blast to straightaway center field – for a 7-0 lead.

Cameron answered with two in their half and were threatening for more, but a double play on a fly ball to right got starter Jordan Withrow out of the jam with Tarleton on top by five.

Both teams were kept in check over the next five innings – despite both teams putting plenty of runners on base over that stretch – and Tarleton took its 7-2 lead into the seventh inning.

The TexAnns tacked on an insurance run in the top half of the inning when the fourth Cameron error of the game allowed Karli Herron to score. Tarleton couldn’t push across any more runs and went into the final half-inning holding an 8-2 edge.

Then things got dicey.

Three walks and a single surrounding a fly out brought home the third run of the game for Cameron and kept the bases loaded for the Aggies, which chased Withrow from the game for Julia Wernet. Wernet walked the first batter she faced to cut the lead to 8-4 with one out and the bases still loaded.

In the middle of the next at bat, Wernet lost the grip on a pitch that rolled behind her straight to Svienty at shortstop. Svienty picked it up and tagged the runner off second base for the second out of the inning. The game was delayed for an official ruling, which was upheld.

Another walk loaded the bases and Withrow re-entered. The junior right-hander got a groundball to third. Herron pitched it to Svienty covering the bag for the final out.

Withrow earned the win with 6.2 innings of work, over which she allowed four runs on six hits and nine walks while striking out two. Wernet recorded one out in relief.

Every player in the Tarleton lineup recorded a hit in Friday’s opener, led by a two-hit performance from Capell. The sophomore from Midlothian had two hits, including a double, and a run scored.

Svienty, Tanna Huie, Destiny Crumpley, Kirkpatrick, Conner, Ling, Herron, Lexi Grimaldo, and Morgan Sebastian each had one hit to round out the 11-hit attack from Tarleton. Conner (3), Kirkpatrick (2), and Herron (2) combined for seven RBI.

Tarleton and Cameron will continue the league-opening series tomorrow with a doubleheader at 1 p.m.

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