(Tarleton Athletics courtesy photo.)

tarleton_logoCOMMERCE – A 4-RBI game from Delaney Wayland and a two-hit shutout by Alyssa Ringhausen in her first career start lifted Tarleton State to a day-two sweep at the Lion Classic and secure the best start to a season since 2011.

“Alyssa did a great job of keeping a good-hitting team off balance today,” said head coach Julie Mata. “This was her first start ever for us after missing almost all of last year with an injury and being sick to start this season. Her routine and focus in the circle really set the tone and Nyka called a great game behind the plate.

“In game one, Shelby (Hedrick) did a great job of mixing up her pitches and our bats got the job done,” she continued. “Delaney had four RBIs and we were able to keep the pressure on Southern Nazarene. This team is so much fun to coach. They play with such big hearts and they are never out of a game.”

Game 1: Tarleton 6, Southern Nazarene 4

Led by a 4-RBI effort from freshman Delaney Wayland, Tarleton State avenged yesterday’s loss by topping Southern Nazarene 6-4 in the first game of the Lion Classic at Texas A&M-Commerce Saturday.

Wayland got the day started with a bang for the TexAnns, clubbing her second career home run in the second inning. The shot was a two-run blast that plated Kady Crow, who led the inning off with a walk, to put the TexAnns up 2-0 early.

The Crimson Storm rallied back with a three-spot on a bases-clearing double in the bottom of the third to give Southern Nazarene its first lead at 3-2 after three.

After a scoreless fourth inning, Tarleton State evened things up when Katelyn Conlee drove in her 12th RBI in the first five games of the season on a single to center field to score Kaitlyn Thomas, who reached on an error and advanced to third on an illegal pitch and a sacrifice bunt from Savannah Stech.

Following a shutdown inning from Hedrick in the bottom of the fifth, Thomas slapped an RBI single down the left field line to bring home Melody Mayse for the go-ahead run in the top of the sixth.

Southern Nazarene answered with one unearned run on a throwing error in the sixth, but the offense roared back in the top of the seventh with the game-winning 2-RBI single from Wayland to bring home Crow and Conlee to give the TexAnns a 6-4 lead into the final frame.

Haley Freyman, who entered the game with one out in the eighth, earned the win after shutting down the Crimson Storm in the seventh on a groundout and a line-drive double play to end the game.

Tarleton scored six runs on eight hits for the day with Thomas, Conlee, Crow and Wayland each recording a pair of hits on the day. Wayland had four RBIs while Thomas and Conlee added one each.

Hedrick pitched the first 5.1 innings, allowing four runs – three earned – on three hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. Freyman pitched the final 1.2 innings en route to her third win of the season, allowing no runs on two hits and a walk.

Game 2: Tarleton 15, Northeastern State 0

In the tournament finale, Tarleton State put together the best all-around game of the season with a 15-0 thumping of Northeastern State University to improve to 5-1 on the young season and secure the best start to a season since starting the 2011 season 5-1.

Tarleton got the scoring started in the second inning when a single from Stech started a four-run explosion.

Stech came in to score the first run on a triple from Melody Mayse before Nyka Wood quickly brought home Mayse with an RBI single to third base. After a single from Erika Menchaca, Lauren Powers plated Wood and Menchaca with an opposite-field 2-RBI double to put Tarleton up 4-0.

In the top of the fourth, Tarleton opened the flood gates beginning with a pinch-hit, bases-clearing double from Rebekah Allen. Katelyn Conlee followed up with an RBI single to plate Allen and make it 8-0 in Tarleton’s favor.

Melody Mayse capped off the six-run inning with a two-run double down the right field line to bring home Stech and Conlee for a 10-0 lead.

The TexAnns continued to pour it on in the fifth, beginning with Nyka Wood‘s first career home run over the left field wall to make it 11-0. Kady Crow followed up with a big fly of her own, this one of the grand variety, when Crow unloaded the bases with a grand slam to bring home Powers, Taylor Fitzgerald and Menchaca, as well as herself, to bring the game to its final score of 15-0.

Meanwhile, Ringhausen pieced together a masterful performance in her pitching debut.

The sophomore right-hander pitched her first complete game shutout in her pitching debut, throwing all five innings while allowing just two hits – one of them on a questionable decision that could have gone as an error – and three walks while striking out four en route to the win.

Tarleton clubbed 16 hits in the shortened game, including a 3-3 performance from Menchaca and Wood, who each scored three times as well. Mayse, Stech and Powers also had multi-hit games with two each while Fitzgerald, Allen, Conlee and Crow had one hit each to round out the Tarleton offense.

The TexAnns will return home Monday afternoon for a single game at 3 p.m. against Northwestern Oklahoma State at the Tarleton Softball Complex.