STEPHENVILLE – There’s just something about playing at home for this Tarleton Texans softball team. The purple and white swept the doubleheader against Sam Houston to improve to 16-6 on the season and remain perfect at home, now 9-0. The Bearkats fell to 9-13 with the two losses, 2-4 on the road.
This was Tarleton’s first conference games of the season, opening the three-game series against Sam Houston at the Tarleton Softball Complex in Stephenville on Saturday.
Game 1: Tarleton 8, Sam Houston 2
Tarleton blasted Sam Houston in the opening game of the series as the Texans put up a pair of four-run innings to win 8-2.
Sam Houston struck first in the second when a leadoff single and a two-out single combined for a single run in the inning.
Meanwhile, Sam Houston’s Regan Dunn was untouchable through the first two innings before Tristyn Trull ripped a leadoff double through the right-center gap to spark the Tarleton offense. She moved to third with two outs and the Bearkats appeared primed to dance out of danger, but a textbook groundout turned to Tarleton’s favor with an error that allowed Trull to score and extend the inning.
Tarleton took advantage of their extra life as Brady Rowland gave the Texans a 2-1 lead with an RBI single to center and then Katy Schaefer doubled off the left field wall to plate two more and extend the lead to 4-1.
While Tristan Bridges kept the Bearkats off the scoreboard for the next three innings, Tarleton put together another four-spot in the sixth.
Ashlee LaRue got the offense started with an absolutely crushed home run to right field for two runs. Morgan Medford and Amanda DeSario followed up with back-to-back RBI doubles to extend the lead to 8-1. The Bearkats added one in the seventh, but could muster no more against Bridges.
Trull paced the offense with a 3-for-3 showing while DeSario had two hits. Medford, Rowland, Shaefer, and LaRue had one hit each to round out the Tarleton offense.
Bridges improved to 6-0 on the season with a complete-game victory. She allowed two runs on four hits and a walk while striking out four.
Game 2: Tarleton 4, Sam Houston 3
Another day, another walk-off for the Tarleton Texans.
Tarleton escaped a Sam Houston game-tying home run in the seventh inning with an answer in the bottom half to win 4-3 in the second game of the doubleheader. With the bases loaded and the game tied at 3-3, Katy Schaefer was plunked on the first pitch for the rare walk-off hit by pitch.
The second game was dominated by two Texans in particular – Schaefer and Julia Wernet. Wernet pitched 6.0 innings, allowing only one run in the seventh. She was touched for only three hits, giving no free passes, striking out three Bearkats, and forcing 12 groundouts to the 21 batters faced.
Reagan Chism started the game for Tarleton, going 1.0 inning, allowing two earned runs and four hits against six batters. Sam Houston began the game with two doubles in the first, the second of which brought in their first run. To start the second, Sam Houston’s Elia Hebel homered to left field, forcing the pitching change. Wernet promptly came in and mowed down five straight Bearkats, not facing any danger until the seventh.
Sam Houston led 2-0 in the bottom of the third. Morgan Medford got the inning started for Tarleton with a single, Amanda DeSario walked, and Brady Rowland flew out to center, allowing both runners to advance to scoring position. Schaefer then crushed one off of Mika Vento to left field for a three-run home run, her fifth shot of the season. And just like that, the Texans had a 3-2 lead.
There was little action in the fourth through sixth innings, with Wernet and Vento on top of their games in the circle. In the seventh, Wernet forced two ground outs to start, leaving the Bearkats to their final out. Brailey Wasik pinch hit and homered to left center, tying the game.
In the bottom half, MacKenzie Peterson walked, Medford reached on an error, and DeSario singled to load the bases. With Bella Hernandez at third as the pinch runner, Schaefer was hit by the pitch, allowing Hernandez to score to win the game for the purple and white.
Wernet improved to 2-0 on the season with her gem, while Vento dropped to 4-5. Schaefer had four RBI, going 1-for-2 and an HBP.