HOUSTON – Tarleton had six errors leading to No. 2 Central Missouri coming from behind to top the Texans 5-4 in 10 innings on Saturday at Minute Maid Park.
"We are proud of the kids," said head coach Bryan Conger. "They battled. In order for us to grow to an elite level we need to play teams like Central Missouri, who is ranked No. 2 in the nation by the NCBWA. They are a traditional power at our level and their coaches and players do a really nice job."
The Texans (6-2) used a three-run third inning to take the early lead. Austin Call had an RBI single that scored Blake Adams for the game's first run. Dylan Lemons hit a sacrifice fly to plate Francisco Rodriguez, followed by Luis Rivas' RBI single. Rivas led the Texans with two hits, going 2-for-3 on the day.
Tarleton starting pitcher Colby Fowler dominated on the mound, tossing five innings of one-hit ball and striking out five. Any time Fowler faced a pressure situation, he delivered to keep the lead intact. In the second inning, Fowler picked a runner off second to end the inning. With runners at first and second and one out in the fifth inning, Fowler got a strike out and a ground out to end the scoring threat by Central Missouri.
The Mules got on the board in the sixth inning on three singles that led to a run. Tarleton answered back with a run on Ben Mauseth's fielder's choice ground out to score Lemons to make it 4-1.
Central Missouri tied the game in the seventh with three runs behind four Tarleton errors. Of the five runs surrendered by the Texans, only two were earned. Tarleton managed only two hits in the final three innings. Central Missouri's walk-off came on a double down the left field line that was able to score the winning run on an error.
"The things we need to get better at are the things that we have the ability to control," added Conger. "It's up to us to commit to the process of doing those things. This is a resilient bunch and we expect them to bounce back tomorrow and be ready to play at a high level."
Texans 9, St. Mary's 6
Tarleton baseball opened up the Houston Winter Invitational with a 9-6 win over St. Mary's on Friday at Minute Maid Park.
It's the third straight win for the Texans (6-1), with all three wins coming against the Rattlers. This is the fifth straight season the Texans have played at the home of the Houston Astros, and have won the tournament opener in four of the last five years.
"I thought the kids did a really nice job of overcoming some adversity," said head coach Bryan Conger. "The game was a little back-and-forth early on and they did a nice job of collecting themselves, especially in a big league ballpark."
Tarleton got the bats rolling early and often with Blake Adams leading off the game with a single, only to steal second and third base, leading to the game's first run on Jon Tauzin's line drive single up the middle.
St. Mary's (4-4) put up a pair of runs in the second and third inning for a 4-2 lead, with Tarleton's second run coming off Jake Hasbrouck's RBI single to once again score Adams. Adams went 2-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored, two stolen bases and an RBI.
The Texans went to the bullpen in the third inning to relieve starter Alex Debell, who struck out five in 2.1 innings of work, and opted with junior right-hander Nathan Hickey. Hickey (2-0) had his best performance of the young season, tossing 5.1 scoreless innings out of the bullpen while surrendering only one hit to go with a career-high six strikeouts.
"I thought Nathan was outstanding," said Conger. "He did a tremendous job of attacking the zone and operating at a great pace. He stayed aggressive all game and kept them on their heels."
Trailing 4-2, the Texans responded with seven unanswered runs between the third and eighth inning.
In the third, Tarleton's bottom third of the order picked the offense up when Hunter Seales started a two-out rally on a single to center. Ben Mauseth followed with a double to center to set up Jose Reyes driving in Seales and Mauseth on a two-run double to even the score at 4. Mauseth was one of three Texans with a multi-hit performance, going 2-for-4 and two runs scored.
The Texans took the lead for good in the fourth when Francisco Rodriguez doubled off the left-field wall to lead off the inning and later scored on Tauzin's sacrifice fly to make it 5-4.
For the second straight inning, the Texans' leadoff man reached base and led to a run. Mauseth singled to left and stole second moments later to score on Adams' RBI single to right. Hasbrouck added a sac fly to score Reyes for a 7-4 lead.
Hasbrouck provided some insurance runs in the eighth inning with a two-run home run to right field, his second long ball of the season. Hasbrouck finished 2-for-3 at the plate with a game-best four RBI.
The Texan bullpen of Hickey (5.1 innings), Eli McLane (0.1) and Eddie Avila (1) combined to toss 6.2 innings, giving up two hits and two runs – a ninth inning two-run homer to Donnie Perez – and struck out nine. Overall, Tarleton's pitchers had 14 strikeouts.
Tarleton will take on Arkansas-Fort Smith on Sunday at 2 p.m.