Special to the E-T
Tarleton Sports Information
DURANT, Okla. – The Tarleton TexAnn softball team was eliminated from the Lone Star Conference Championship Tournament Friday morning after losing to Abilene Christian in extra innings, 3-2.
?The TexAnns (28-24), in their ninth LSC postseason event in tshe 12th year of head coach Julie Mata, entered the double-elimination bracket as the second seed from the South Division after claiming a share of the division title with Angelo State. The Wildcats (30-24) were the third-seeded squad from the South.
On the second pitch of the game, Leisha Johnson put a ball over the left centerfield fence just out of the reach of Tarleton centerfielder Tami Sutton to put the Wildcats up early. Tarleton’s Brooke Saulters then retired the side to put ACU up, 1-0.
In the bottom of the next inning, Brittnee Rice homered to left center on a shot that left no doubt as soon as it came off the bat. The TexAnn junior tied the game at one run apiece.
ACU then scored again in the top of the third when Jessica Shiery singled through the right side to score Johnson and give the Wildcats a 2-1 advantage.
The TexAnns again tied the game in the bottom of the third frame. With one out, Nicole Cone singled to right center before Sutton had a stand-up triple to right center to score the second baseman. The game was knotted at two.
Neither team scored again until the battle went into extra innings. In the top of the eighth, Shiery put the first pitch of the inning over the right centerfield fence to give the Wildcats the lead. Tarleton was retired in order in the bottom of the inning, and the TexAnns lost the third-round game.
Saulters took the loss for Tarleton despite recording nine strikeouts. She pitched all eight innings and allowed three runs on four hits while walking four batters.
Kim McDonald recorded the complete game victory, allowing two runs on four hits while walking two and striking out two.
The TexAnns will now have to await an invitation to their second straight NCAA Division II South Central Regional tournament. The regional, which will be held in San Angelo, will take place next weekend. The champion of this weekend’s tournament will receive an automatic bid, as will the winners of the Heartland Conference and Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournaments. The other five teams will receive invitations to the national tournament on Sunday.