SAN ANTONIO - Tarleton State's historic run through the NCAA Division II postseason came to an end Saturday afternoon with a 6-3 loss in the Super Regional Championship Series to St. Mary's in San Antonio.
"People didn't expect us to come this far and we thrived on that," said junior outfielder Melody Mayse. "Just because we were the eight seed didn't mean we couldn't do it, it just meant it hasn't been done yet. We were out there playing our game and having fun doing it.
"Yes it's softball and we love it, but it's ultimately about having fun and glorifying God," she continued. "For us, it was about giving all the glory to God no matter what happened on the field."
After St. Mary's struck first in the opening half-inning, the TexAnns had an immediate answer with a run in the bottom of the first - which stemmed from a leadoff single by Melody Mayse to get the offense started.
Mayse laced a single to the opposite field before a sacrifice bunt and a Katelyn Conlee single put runners on the corners with one away. Nyka Wood cashed in with a single back up the middle for Tarleton's first run of the game and a 1-1 tie after one.
St. Mary's turned on the offense over its next two innings with one more in the second and a three spot in the top of the third, but Tarleton State clawed back in the bottom of the third with a pair of two-out runs on a base knock by Shelby Hedrick into left field to bring home Conlee and Kaitlyn Thomas, who entered to run for Wood at second base.
The next four innings saw another pitchers' duel as only one run by the Rattlers in the top of the sixth crossed the plate again en route to the final. Tarleton State did load the bases with nobody out in the seventh, but were unable to bring any runs across.
"We were in a good spot in our lineup and I liked our chances, even when they brought in their ace out of the bullpen," said head coach Julie Mata. "We had fight in our at bats all year and we had good at bats in that last inning, we just didn't quite get the ball right through the middle and that hurt. But we've had that kind of fight all year and I had complete confidence in this team every step of the way."
Mayse and Conlee each had two base hits for Tarleton while Wood led the way at the dish with a 3-4 performance. Hedrick's 2-RBI single in the third was the only other hit in Tarleton's eight-hit effort.
Freyman took the loss, ending her freshman season with a record of 23-14, after throwing 2.1 innings and allowing five runs on seven hits with a walk and a strikeout. Hedrick pitched the final 4.2 innings, allowing one run on four hits to go along with a strikeout.
Tarleton State finished the regular season with a record of 33-22 while Wood (.404) and Conlee (.402) finished the season above .400 with their final batting averages. They are just the fourth and fifth players in school history to hit .400 in a single season - joining Monica Garza (.479) in 2004, Kelli Gayle (.402) in 2008 and Jennifer Maupin (.400) in 1999. Wood and Conlee also tied for the team lead in RBIs at 55 each, which is the second-most in a single season behind Garza's 2004 mark of 58.
The TexAnns had five other hitters, alongside Wood and Conlee, to finish above .300 for the season.
Tarleton loses only one senior from this roster as Brenna Hennan suited up for the final time in the purple and white. Hennan pitched for Tarleton State for the last three seasons and finished her career with 26 wins in over 286 innings of work and over 200 strikeouts.