Courtesy of Tarleton Sports Information
SAN ANGELO — The Tarleton State TexAnns won two straight games at the NCAA Division II South Central Regional tournament, sending them to an evening match versus the Angelo State Rambelles late Saturday.
The TexAnns split their regular season-closing series versus the Rambelles, who are hosting the regional tournament. In the final game of the series, Tarleton was one run away from run-ruling the Rambelles for the first time all season.
Tarleton’s Saturday afternoon game versus Northeastern State was suspended due to bad weather in the bottom of the sixth inning, with the TexAnns holding a 6-0 lead. Aimee Bohannan hit an RBI double after play resumed, but Tarleton hung on to win 6-1.
The victory provided Tarleton with a measure of revenge, as Northeastern had edged them 2-1 in the first round of the Lone Star Conference tournament last week.
Tarleton ace Brooke Saulters (24-10) picked up her second win of the weekend, allowing just two hits.
Ashley Bray started the game off with a single to center, and scored on a single by Kelli Gayle. Lindsay Moore grounded out to the pitcher, but Gayle was able to score on the play, giving Tarleton a 2-0 lead.
Two scoreless innings followed, but the TexAnns got hot in the fourth. Kasi Dobbs singled, and Brooke LaRue smacked an RBI double to left.
Then, with two outs, Meagan Jackson pounded a three-run home run, forcing Northeastern to change pitchers. But by that point the damage was done, and the TexAnns had a comfortable 6-0 lead.
The game was paused due to weather at 2 p.m., in the bottom of the sixth with two outs on Northeastern. Their lone run followed, but Jessi Walters forced Northeastern to go three up, three down in the seventh to secure the win.
Saulters set a school record for single-season wins Friday, picking up win No. 23 versus Texas A&M-Kingsville, 4-2.
“I feel really good just to get a win, and I hope it leads to several more this weekend,” Saulters said. “To get the win just puts us in a position to be able to go through and win the whole tournament, and I feel confident we can do that.”
The TexAnns held off a late rally by the Javelinas to advance.
Tarleton scored one run in the top of the third and added three in the top of the fourth while holding the Javelinas to just two runs in the bottom of the seventh.
“After losing yesterday on a tough call down the right field line, we feel blessed just to be able to continue to fight for the regional title,” said Tarleton head coach Julie Mata. “We felt like we could come out and win (Friday’s) ballgame, and we know that we are going to have
to play hard like we did (Friday) to win the tournament.”
Saulters finished the game with six strikeouts after pitching 6.2 innings, allowing seven hits and one walk.
“Brooke did a great job for us today,” Mata said. “She has been looking for her 23rd win of the season, and now that she has it, I think she will just be able to relax and pitch like she has all season. I am proud of her for setting the record, but now we have to go out and play hard for the rest of the tournament.”
Tarleton’s Tamra Bradley doubled through the left side to lead off the top of the third before a sacrifice bunt by Saulters moved Bradley to third. Ashley Hitt came in to run for Bradley and scored on a bunt that Bray ran out on a muffed throw. Tarleton led, 1-0.
With one out in the fourth, Dobbs had a solo home run to left field to put the TexAnns up two. Meagan Jackson singled up the middle off new pitcher Morgan Seals, and Bradley reached on a throwing error by the freshman pitcher off a bunt. Both runners advanced to put two TexAnns in scoring position.
Saulters then reached on a fielder’s choice that loaded the bases and Bray singled to the pitcher to score Jackson from third. Gayle grounded out to second, allowing Bradley to score and gave Tarleton a 4-0 lead.
The Javelinas threatened in the sixth when Sally Lozano began the inning with a single to left. Cassie Anderson then singled to short to put runners at first and second. Lozano was thrown out at third by catcher April Gonzalez. The Javelinas tallied three hits, but Tarleton escaped unscathed.
TAMUK’s Julia Canales singled to center before Kristin Schumann flied out to Lindsay Moore in left. Ariel Lichtenberger then reached on a fielder’s choice while Canales was out at second when LaRue hit Cone for the out.
Shaun Bryan walked to put runners a first and second and a Lozano triple to right center scored both runners and cut the TexAnn lead in half. Jessi Walters was called in for Saulters, and got Anderson to ground out to first for the game’s final out.