Texans falter late for 6-5 loss to No. 17 Arkansas Tech in Minute Maid finale

tarleton_logoHOUSTON – Tarleton State dropped its second straight game to finish out the Winter Invitational at Minute Maid when No. 17 Arkansas Tech scored two in the eighth to steal the finale away from the Texans 6-5.

Tarleton got on the board first in the top of the second when Jonathan Schmitz came around to score on a two-out wild pitch. After Arkansas Tech tied it in the ensuing half inning, Schmitz struck again in the third when he drove home Landon Merka from second base to put Tarleton up 2-1.

A run in the third by Arkansas Tech kept things knotted at 2-2 before Tarleton added a pair of runs in the top of the fifth on a rally sparked, once again, by Schmitz. The junior ripped a double to the left center gap to lead things off and, after Kevin Meredith walked and both advanced a base on a Dalton Weeks grounder, Zach Fleet drove them home with a 2-RBI single down the right field line to put the Texans up 5-3.

Once again, the Wonder Boys tied things up in the next half inning with two of their own but Tarleton continued to fight by taking its fourth lead of the game at 5-4 when Fleet drove in his third RBI of the game on a double down the right field line in the seventh.

The pitching combination of Eythan Lenz and John Kresta kept Arkansas Tech in check and Tarleton carried the lead into the bottom of the eighth.

Arkansas Tech added a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a 6-5 lead and Tarleton had a chance in the ninth with runners on second and third, but couldn’t bring the tying run across.

The Tarleton offense combined for 11 hits on the day, including a pair of three-hit efforts from Schmitz and Meredith. Each of them scored two runs while Schmitz had an RBI. Fleet also had a two-hit effort and three RBIs while Merka, Matt Olive and Landon Thompson, who had a pinch-hit single in the ninth to keep the rally attempt alive, rounded out the Tarleton offense.

Colton Burleson earned the starting nod and went two innings, allowing two runs on four hits and one walk with four strikeouts. The senior was relieved by Trevor Renfro, who tossed the next four innings, allowing two runs on two hits with a walk and a strikeout. Lenz got an out against the only batter he faced while Kresta pitched 1.2 innings.

Cole Foster took the loss, allowing two unearned runs on two hits and a walk in his one-third inning of relief.

Tarleton will stay on the road next weekend for a three-game series in San Antonio starting Friday at 3 p.m.

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