Special to the E-T
Tarleton Sports Information
Tarleton State’s bats crushed Northwood 17-7 in eight innings Tuesday afternoon.
Designated hitter Mark Jeffery put Tarleton up early with a monster two-run blast to left in the bottom of the first inning, scoring himself and third baseman Junnior Dishmey, who had reached base on a walk.
The Texans (16-5) added another run when first baseman Zane Hensley scored on an RBI groundout by centerfielder Tim Rainey, making 3-0 after one.
Ryan Salt got the start for Tarleton and shut down the Knights in the first with a 1-2-3 inning. In typical fashion for the Tuesday games this season, the Texans went with a platoon of pitchers against Northwood. Reliever Chuck Brown did the same in the top of the second inning as Tarleton looked to erase any repeat of last week’s game against St. Mary’s.
In the second inning, the Texans added three more runs. First, leftfielder Andrew Wolfe scored on a fielder’s choice hit into by Dishmey. Hensley then capitalized with runners on, stroking a two-run double to deep centerfield, putting Tarleton up 6-0.
The Knights got a run back in the top of the third when Isaac Maturino hit a lead-off home run to left-center.
Tarleton was able to get four more runs in the bottom of the third when shortstop Travis Hayes doubled, then scored on an error by Northwood. Stuckly followed that up with a two-RBI triple to left-center, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Dishmey.
The Texans enjoyed a 10-1 lead after just three innings of play.
Northwood managed two runs in the top of the fourth to make it a seven-run ball game.
Rightfielder Chris Casazza got one of those runs back in the bottom half of the inning to make it 11-3 in favor of Tarleton.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Texans struck once again when Jeffery hit his second home run of the ball game, a two-run bomb to left. Pinch hitter Nathan Hille added to Tarleton’s already large tally with an RBI-double, making it an 11-run Texan advantage.
Northwood refused to go away completely though and scored four runs in the top of the sixth, cutting the lead to just seven runs.
Tarleton pushed their lead back to nine runs with a single tally in both the sixth and seventh innings, as the Texans enjoyed a 16-7 lead.
With the game completely in Tarleton’s hands, it was just a matter of time before they ten-run ruled the Knights. That final run came in the bottom of the eighth inning when Stuckly scored on an error, after doubling to lead off the inning.
The Texans responded just one week after getting ten-run ruled by St. Mary’s by doing the same to Northwood, 17-7.
Kenneth Stockton (1-0) picked up the win for Tarleton, after tossing a perfect fifth. Brandyn Greer was stellar for the Texans out of the bullpen, finishing the last three shutout innings.
Offensively, Jeffery had a career day with a 4-for-5 outing, two home runs, five RBI’s and three runs scored. Stuckly and Hensley both added two RBI’s, while Stuckly collected four hits and Hensley recorded three hits.
Tarleton posted a season-high 19 hits and had different players contribute in that category. The Texans also benefited from five Northwood errors in the game.
The Knights’ Edgar Valle (0-1) suffered the loss after giving up five runs, two earned on five hits in just 1 1/3 innings on the mound.
Head coach Bryan Conger was proud of the team's performance on the day.
"The guys played well today," said Conger. "The effort level was back to where it needs to be in order for us to be successful. Offensively, it was a good day obviously with several guys putting together quality at-bats. We will focus on our next practice and work at getting 1 percent better on that day."
The Texans return to action this weekend when they host Abilene Christian for a big Lone Star Conference series on Friday and Saturday.