Midwestern State had much to overcome in the late innings against Incarnate Word in the Lone Star Conference Postseason Tournament semifinals Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Field.
But despite falling behind by six runs, the Mustangs sent the tying run to the plate before falling 6-3 to end the season with a 26-25 record.
UIW (28-23) moves on to face Angelo State - an 11-3 winner in five innings over West Texas A&M in the other semifinal - in the championship game Saturday at 6 p.m.
Lea Padilla keyed a pair of three-run frames for the Cardinals to stake ace Briana Sanchez to an early 6-0 lead.
Padilla laced a two-run double down the left-field line to key a three-run, five-hit rally in the first inning as Ashley Freeman led off with a triple to center field before scoring the first run on Sarah O'Brien's single to left field.
Incarnate Word added three more runs in the third inning on a two-run shot from Padilla for her seventh home run of the season. The Cardinals tacked on a third run on Sarah Holub's double to center field to plate Monica Acuna.
Sanchez (17-10) appeared primed to secure her fourth shutout of the season limiting the Mustangs to three hits and to no more one base runner in any inning through the first six frames.
But MSU's bats awoke in the seventh as Kelley Schaefer and Courtney Ford ripped consecutive singles before Carey Campbell broke up the shutout bid with a two-run single up the middle to pull the Mustangs to within 6-2.
Sophomore catcher Kim Jerrick followed with a double to the left-field gap to plate Campbell and Elena Bennett reached on an infield single to bring the tying run to the plate, but Sanchez got Courtney Bingham to fly out to center field to end the threat.
MSU starter Brenna Hennan (7-11) allowed six runs - all earned - on 10 hits with one strikeout in 2 2/3 innings to take the loss. Lindsi Glenn came on to toss 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief permitting three hits to go along with a pair of strikeouts.
Eight different MSU players accounted for one hit each.