STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton and Texas A&M-Kingsville may have been scheduled to play 14 innings Saturday afternoon, but the TexAnns needed only 11 innings to sweep the doubleheader and win the series with a pair of walk-off wins.
"This was a good day for us," said head coach Mark Cumpian. "Our pitching staff did a great job and, offensively, we came up with big hits. Savannah Stech really gave us a spark in the four hole today. Now we need to take this momentum on the road to Western New Mexico next weekend."
Game 1: Tarleton 10, Texas A&M-Kingsville 2 (6)
Looking to bounce back from Friday's loss, the TexAnns responded in a big way as Tarleton exploded for a 10-2, six-inning win over Texas A&M-Kingsville Saturday afternoon to force a rubber game.
Kingsville struck first with a solo home run in the second, but the TexAnn offense came to life in the third with two runs on an RBI double into the right center gap by Savannah Stech and an error that gave the TexAnns a 2-1 lead. The Javelinas answered with one in the fourth, which kept the game tied at 2-2 until the bottom of the fifth.
Nyka Wood sparked the go-ahead rally to lead off the fifth when the junior catcher cashed in on one of the few hittable pitches thrown her way by the Kingsville staff. Wood ripped a double down the left field line to set up a two-run home run from Megan Durante two batters later for a 4-2 Tarleton lead.
After Jordan Withrow kept the Javelinas off the board in the sixth, the TexAnns exploded for a six spot – starting with a leadoff single by Kaitlyn Thomas. Three straight singles loaded the bases for Tarleton's Wood with no one out and no place to put her. Kingsville chose to pitch around the Tarleton catcher, walking in a run and pushing up the TexAnn lead to 5-2.
Savannah Stech coaxed an RBI walk of her own and then Meghann Wrinkle scored on a passed ball to extend Tarleton's lead to 7-2. Marisa Flores ripped a two-run double that one-hopped the left field wall before Thomas walked it off early with an RBI single to shortstop.
Withrow earned the win with six innings of work, over which she allowed two runs and struck out seven. Meanwhile, the offense totaled 11 base hits led by a 3-for-4 day from Thomas and two-hit performances from Quintanar and Wrinkle. Wood, Stech, Durante, and Flores each had one hit as well for Tarleton.
Game 2: Tarleton 11, Texas A&M-Kingsville 3 (5)
Tarleton picked up right where it left off in the first game as Nyka Wood capped off an 11-run explosion with a two-run single in the fifth to deliver a walk-off victory for the TexAnns over Kingsville Saturday.
The TexAnn offense pieced together three runs on three hits in the bottom of the first to jump out to a quick 3-0 advantage. Stech drove in the first run with an RBI single before Durante followed up with an RBI of her own through the right side. Flores cashed in with a sacrifice fly to plate Stech for the three-run lead after one.
Quintanar and Wrinkle singled and stole a base to set up Tarleton with runners on second and third with one away before Nyka Wood took advantage of her opportunity to plate Tarleton's fourth run on an RBI single. Stech followed up with the inning's big blow when the senior from Mansfield teed off to right for a three-run home run and a 7-0 Tarleton lead.
Kingsville responded with three runs in the third to bring the score to 7-3, which carried into the bottom of the fifth.
In the fifth, Tarleton loaded the bases on a Durante hit by, a Flores walk, and a Thomas single with one away to load the bases for Avery Mullendore. Mullendore coaxed an RBI walk to put the lead to 8-3 and then Maddie Quintanar kept it rolling with an RBI single to left for a 9-3 advantage.
After a strikeout, Wood stepped into the box with the bases and two away and the junior catcher answered the call.
Wood, who was walked six times on the weekend, ripped a walk-off two-run single up the middle to end the game at 11-3. Wood officially was 3-for-5 in the series with four runs scored, four RBI, six walks, and a .833 on-base percentage.
Quintanar, Wood, and Stech each had two hits while Durante, Kirkpatrick, Flores, and Thomas each had one. Kayleigh Williams earned the win with the first two innings of work, over which she struck out four, before giving way to Withrow, who earned her first career save with three innings of scoreless relief.
Tarleton will return to action next weekend with a road trip to Silver City, New Mexico for four games against Western New Mexico. The first three games of the series will be counted as Lone Star Conference games while the fourth game will be a non-conference, regional game.