SAN MARCOS — The Lady Matadors (27-11-1) put a Texas-sized scare into No. 2-ranked Dripping Springs Friday night before falling just short in a 3-2 loss in nine innings at Bobcat Softball Field in San Marcos.
Down 2-0 in the top of the seventh with a runner on third and two outs, Seguin summoned all of its determination to tie the game against standout pitcher Brandi Needham, later sending the game into extra frames.
But Dripping Springs (30-4-1) escaped Texas State University with a victory following a game-winning hit from Kaitlyn Dugan in the bottom of the ninth, lifting the Lady Tigers to a 2-0 series win while eliminating the Lady Mats in heartbreaking fashion.
“It was completely different from (Thursday) — almost a 180,” Seguin head coach John Garcia said. “We battled, we put the bat on the ball, we did what we needed to do. We rattled (Needham) a little bit and got some hits, scored some runs and just played a great game.
“I can’t say anything other than that. It was a great job and I’m just so proud of these girls.”
It was indeed a gutsy comeback from the Lady Matadors, who had been shut out by Needham for 13-2/3 consecutive innings before Sidney Allen plated Alexis Nixon in the seventh on a ground ball that was mishandled by the Lady Tigers’ shortstop.
The play could have been the final out of Seguin’s season, but instead it began a dramatic rally that saw Allen then swipe second base to move into scoring position.
All the Lady Mats needed was one timely hit, which was provided by sophomore Kaycee Govett on a chopper up the middle that allowed Allen to tie the contest at 2-2 and electrified the Lady Matador dugout.
Ciara Luna then shut down Dripping Springs in the bottom of the frame to send it into extra innings, where Seguin saw Shelby Janda collect a lead-off single in the eighth and eventually move to third base with two outs.
This time, however, the big hit never came, with the contest eventually moving into the bottom of the ninth.
The Lady Tigers got something brewing when Needham ripped a one-out single to right field that was followed by a sacrifice bunt, an intentional walk and a hit batter.
With the bases loaded, Dugan laced a 3-2 pitch to the gap in right field to bring in the winning run.
It was a tribute to Luna’s toughness that Dripping Springs managed only three runs despite posting 12 hits on the night.
“When they put that many hits on the board and not many runs, your pitcher is doing a good job of scattering out the hits,” Garcia said. “And your defense is doing a great job when they do put the ball in play.”
The loss ended an incredible four-year prep career for Luna, who struck out five in her final game as a Lady Matador. The senior undoubtedly put together one of the best runs in the program’s history.
“Definitely going to miss her,” Garcia said. “It’s going to be really tough to replace Ciara Luna.”
Seguin notched three hits off of Needham for the second night in a row, with Janda, Govett and Kaylee Atchley all posting singles. The trio leads a strong foundation of young players that will look to held the Lady Matadors return to the postseason in 2014.
“We do have a young core with the sophomores and the freshmen,” Garcia said. “And we have some coming in as eight-graders that I hear are some pretty good little ballplayers.”
The loss marked the final game for a very talented group of Seguin seniors, which includes five starters — Luna, Allen, Meranda Rodriguez, Ally Tovar and Ruthie Jones.