The Tarleton State TexAnns finished the regular season by going toe-to-toe with one of the nationís best teams, splitting a four-game series.
And if they can make it through the first round of the Lone Star Conference Postseason Tournament, they just might get another shot at the No. 4 Angelo State Rambelles.
First on the agenda for the TexAnns (33-16), though, is Northeastern State (31-10). Tarleton opens the double-elimination tournament at 5 p.m. Thursday at Southwest Park in Irving. Their games will be broadcast locally on KTRL 100.7 FM.
The TexAnns finished third in the LSC South Division, behind ASU and Texas A&M-Kingsville. They are making their eighth appearance in the conference tournament under head coach Julie Mata.
Tarleton is led both at the plate and in the circle by LSC South Newcomer of the Year Brooke Saulters (see related story, page 6). Saulters (22-8) is one win away from breaking the school record for victories in a season.
She also heads up a formidable offense, leading the squad with a .423 batting average. The TexAnns have the conferenceís second-best team batting average (.328), trailing only the Rambelles.
Northeasternís top batter is Rachael Christian, who is batting .385 with 49 hits, 13 doubles, six home runs and 24 RBIs. Candace Badger (.318) is another solid hitter for the Lady Reds, who have a team batting average of .261.
The teamís key all season long has been pitching, with a pair of hurlers who have ERAs under two runs. Jessica Johnson (1.63 ERA) and India Williamson (1.68 ERA) both have 12 wins and four losses on the season. On the season, opponents are batting just .204 against the Lady Reds.
Tarletonís pitchers have been nearly as stingy, holding opponents to a .245 average. Tamra Bradley (7-5) and Jessi Walters (4-1) are likely to split time with Saulters in the circle over the weekend.
Following their impressive performance versus ASU over the weekend, which included a crushing 12-5 win, the TexAnns moved up to No. 4 in this weekís NCAA South Central Region poll. The Rambelles stayed in the top spot, and will likely host the regional tournament.