ABILENE – Saturday’s softball games provided a roller coaster of emotions between the Texans and rival Wildcats.
Lead changes, thrilling plays, heartbreak, comebacks, milestone hits – this twin bill had it all.
After a Tarleton lost in a walk-off heartbreaker in the first game, the Texans refused to bow down in the series finale and took the final game of the series against the Wildcats 7-5.
Game 1: Abilene Christian 12, Tarleton 11
In a game that saw six lead changes, the final one of the game walked it off for the home team as Tarleton fell in the doubleheader opener 12-11.
Tarleton jumped out to a three-run lead after the top of the first when Katy Schaefer and Austin Germain each drove in a run with Amanda DeSario scoring on a wild pitch in between. ACU answered with a three spot of their own in their half of the first and took a 6-3 lead with a second three-run inning in the second.
Georgia Capell led off the fourth with a double and then an error and a single loaded the bases for Tarleton with no one out. Brittany Coe dropped an RBI single into left field and then freshman Paige Nunes stepped in and showed out in her first career at bat. The freshman delivered a two-run double to the right-center gap to tie the game at 6-6. Coe flashed the speed on the bases to score the go-ahead run on a grounder from Morgan Medford to take a 7-6 lead.
ACU punched back with a four-run bottom of the fourth to lead 10-7 and Tarleton managed to only add one more on a wild pitch to send the game into the seventh with Tarleton trailing by a pair.
Capell kept Tarleton’s hopes alive with a two-out double to spark the offense. After Germain coaxed a walk to load the bases in the seventh with two away, Tristyn Trull delivered a clutch, three-run double to put Tarleton back on top 11-10 in the seventh.
But the Wildcats would not be denied as a two-out, RBI triple tied the game and then a single walked it off.
Tarleton managed 12 base hits in the game with Capell leading the way with a 3-4 day at the dish and two runs scored. Schaefer and Trull had two hits each while Morgan Medford, Germain, Coe, Nunes, and Mackenzie Peterson had one hit each.
The trio of Reagan Chism, Julia Wernet, and Kennedy Ferguson combined for the 6.2 innings of work in the circle.
Game 2: Tarleton 7, Abilene Christian 5
Tarleton’s resilience was on full display in the series finale.
After riding the emotional wave of the game one heartbreaker, Tarleton responded in a big way by rallying back from a 5-3 deficit with a sixth-inning rally on their way to a 7-5 victory.
ACU struck first with a two-run inning right off the bat against Tarleton starter Tristan Bridges. That 2-0 score carried to the third inning when Georgia Capell turned the game upside down with a three-run, record-setting long ball over the right field wall for a three-run shot to put the Texans on top.
For Capell, it was her 59th career home run. She is already the softball program home run leader, but the long ball passed Tarleton Baseball legend Mike Cantu (58) for the most home runs in Tarleton State University diamond sport history.
Tarleton led 3-2 until the bottom of the fifth when ACU answered with a three-run home run of their own to take a 5-3 lead. It was the ninth lead change of the doubleheader, but the Texans decided it would not be the last.
Two walks and a fielder’s choice loaded the bases with one out before a passed ball cut the deficit to one at 5-4. After a strikeout, Tarleton’s best chance of scoring the tying run rested in the hands of pinch-hitting freshman, Paige Nunes in her second career at bat – and she delivered yet again.
Just like game one, Nunes came off the bench and drove in two runs with a single down the left field line – this time to take a 6-5 lead. Three batters later, Hallie Saintignan crossed the plate on a bang-bang play at the plate off a wild pitch to give the Texans some cushion at 7-5.
Bridges retired the next five batters before issuing a two-out walk in the seventh. She got a weak grounder to second, which Trull flipped to Peterson at first for the final out.
Schaefer and Capell each had two hits while Germain and Nunes had one each.
Bridges went the distance for Tarleton to earn her seventh win of the season, allowing five hits and five runs while striking out three.
Tarleton will venture down to Waco Tuesday for a doubleheader with Big 12 member Baylor starting at 5 p.m.