TYLER, TX - Still stinging from a rare, upset loss to LeTourneau on Thursday, ETBU bounced back in a big way Saturday with two huge conference wins over second-ranked Texas-Tyler at UT Tyler Ballpark.
The No. 3-ranked Lady Tigers (23-3, 10-2) got a solid pitching performance from senior Ayrika Henderson for a 3-1 win in game one, and sophomore Alicia Wright turned in a gritty performance in the circle and was helped by some late lightning in the ETBU bats for a 5-3 win in the nightcap.
The two wins ease some of the sting from Thursday's upset loss at LeTourneau, just the second loss by ETBU to the LadyJackets in softball. ETBU now jumps back into second place in the conference race, just one game behind top-ranked Louisiana College in what is becoming a free-for-all race in the ASC East Division.
ETBU had to come from behind to win both games on Saturday, trailing 1-0 after single runs in both games in the first inning by the Patriots. The Lady Tigers scored single runs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings of game one, with RBIs from Lya Swaner, Brooke Martin and Porsha Harrison.
Henderson (11-2) went the distance, allowing one earned run on five hits with two strikeouts.
UT Tyler scored once in the first inning and twice more in the second to grab a quick 3-0 lead in game two, before Wright (10-0) settled in a toughed out the complete-game victory. The Patriots didn't score after Whitney Wyly's two-out, two-run single in the second, as Wright finished with an eight-hitter and one strikeout.
ETBU began its comeback in the fourth, with junior Meghan Fisher scoring on freshman Rebecca Young's groundout. The big inning came in the sixth, when ETBU put four runs on the board to take control of the game.
A one-out walk to Harrison and a single by Fisher got the inning started. Martin then drew a walk to load the bases, and Young's groundout pulled ETBU closer at 3-2.
Senior Stacy Havner then ripped a 3-2 pitch down the line in left, scoring two runs to give ETBU a 4-3 advantage. Wright helped herself seconds later with a double to center that plated Havner for a 5-3 lead.
In the seventh Wright coaxed three straight groundouts to second, with second baseman Hayden Furlow turning in two outstanding defensive plays to end the game.
The Lady Tigers will host LeTourneau in a rematch of Thursday's split doubleheader on Tuesday night at 5 in Marshall. ETBU and UT Tyler will meet again at Taylor Field next Saturday afternoon.
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