(Tarleton State Athletics courtesy photo)

CANYON – A walk-off triple capped off a seventh-inning rally in the WT Woodward Invitational opener against Chadron State Friday afternoon as Tarleton State split its doubleheader.

“We really had some clutch at bats from Mikayla Stogsdill and Melody Mayse in the first game and we were controlling the second game until the fifth inning when our youth really showed,” said head coach Julie Mata. “We just never regained our focus and we learned some valuable lessons. I’m proud of the fight we had in us. I know this team doesn’t like the taste of that second game and we’ll be better because of it.”

Game 1: Tarleton 9, Chadron State 6

Tarleton State exploded for all nine of its runs in the first and final innings of the game to keep Chadron State (0-7) out of the win column.

After TexAnn starter Shelby Hedrick set the Eagles down in order in the top of the first, the bats supplied plenty of run support with a five spot in the bottom of the opening frame – beginning with a leadoff single from Mayse.

With Mayse on second base following a stolen base, Savannah Stech deposited an opposite-field triple into the left center gap to plate Mayse and get the Tarleton scoring started. Katelyn Conleereached on an error, stole second and advanced to third – while Stech scored – on a Nyka Woodsacrifice fly before the TexAnns added the final three runs of the opening with two away.

Erika Menchaca blasted her first home run of the season to plate Conlee and herself before Delaney Wayland worked a walk and Hedrick drove her home with a double to left field for the fifth and final run of the first inning for Tarleton.

Chadron State chipped away over the next five innings – scoring in every inning from the second through the sixth innings to take a 6-5 lead into the final frame. Tarleton’s reliever Haley Freymankept the Eagles off the scoreboard in the top of the seventh with a double play and a pop up to first base for a quick inning to keep the deficit at one.

Two walks and a Wayland single loaded the bases right away for Tarleton in the seventh before Stogsdill pinch hit for Freyman in her first game since the season opener against Southwestern Oklahoma. The sophomore from Sanger coaxed a bases-loaded walk to even the score at 6-6 before Mayse unloaded the bases with a drive into the left center gap for the walk-off triple to play Stogsdill, Kaitlyn Thomas and Wayland for the win.

Tarleton State had eight different TexAnns score a run, including Wayland who scored twice. Mayse had her first four-hit game of the season while Wayland went 2-2 at the dish. Stech, Menchaca and Hedrick had the rest of Tarleton’s nine hits on the day.

Hedrick got the start in the circle and pitched the first 4.1 innings, allowing five runs on nine hits and a strikeout, while Freyman earned her fifth win of the season with 2.2 innings of relief, allowing one run on three hits with four strikeouts.

Game 2: Colorado Mesa 13, Tarleton 6

Colorado Mesa got to Tarleton for eight runs on six hits and two TexAnn errors in just the fifth inning as Tarleton was unable to climb all the way en route to dropping its second game of the season.

After the Mavericks struck first in the top of the opening frame, Tarleton went into complete control over the next three innings with three in the second and one apiece in the third and fourth innings to build a 5-1 lead.

The scoring started for Tarleton in the second with RBIs from Wood, Menchaca and Thomas and continued with an RBI single from Kady Crow in the third and an unearned run in the fourth.

Tarleton ran into trouble in the fifth, however, as the Mavericks scored eight runs on two RBI singles, an RBI double, an RBI fielder’s choice, a sacrifice fly and a bases-clearing triple to put Colorado Mesa up 9-5 into the bottom of the fifth.

The TexAnns got a leadoff triple from Mayse in the bottom of the sixth and an RBI single from Lauren Powers for their sixth run of the game, but Colorado Mesa added three more in the top of the sixth and one in the seventh to claim the win.

Wood and Crow each had two hits while Mayse, Powers, Wayland, Stech and Thomas had the rest of Tarleton’s nine hits on the day.

Freyman took the loss with 6.1 innings of work, allowing 10 runs – eight earned – on 14 hits and three walks with four strikeouts. Alyssa Ringhausen pitched two-thirds of an inning and allowed three runs – two earned – on three hits and two walks.

Tarleton State will return to action tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. against Metro State and wrapping up its Valentine’s Day action at 3:30 p.m. against Colorado School of Mines.