UT Tyler softball advances to Salem - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

UT Tyler softball advances to Salem

TYLER – UT Tyler Athletics Release 

UT Tyler senior Kelsie Batten matched a career-high with 10 strikeouts and Vanessa Carrizales and KK Stevens each drove in first-inning runs to lead the Patriots to a 2-0 win over Linfield and to the program’s fifth NCAA Division III Softball Championship appearance.

The Patriots (44-4) won the NCAA DIII Tyler, Texas Super Regional by sweeping the Wildcats (33-16), starting with a 9-1 win on Friday and then securing the regional final with the 2-0 win on Saturday at Suddenlink Field. UT Tyler also reached the DIII National Finals in 2015, 2013, 2011 and 2009 and were the 2015 national runner-ups. They return to Salem, Virginia where they will open the tournament at 10 a.m. (CDT) on Thursday against St. John Fisher at the James I. Moyer Sports Complex.

“The only thing you want for your kids is for them to have great things,” UT Tyler coach Mike Reed said. “I’m so happy for them to get to feel this. Our celebration was great, but it had a sense of unfinished business. We want to go do the best we possibly can and this team has a mission in mind that we can carry on and keep going.”

Batten (32-3) will enter the national tournament with 114 career victories which is the fifth most all-time in DIII history and with 517 career strikeouts after she owned the Wildcats over the weekend with two wins. A senior from Huntington who limited the Wildcats to five hits in her 38th shutout, Batten is 114-16 in her four-year career and will be playing in her third DIII Softball College World Series. That experience has proven beneficial and has her focused as the Patriots take each step towards their ultimate goal.

“We were just going pitch by pitch and inning by inning,” said Batten, who went 2-0 with 13 strikeouts and only one run allowed in the Super Regional. “Our defense was incredible today by not letting many runners get on base.”

UT Tyler, which run-ruled Linfield in the Super Regional opener, would jump out to the 2-0 lead in the first inning after leadoff hitter Kaylee Prather started the game with a walk and then steal second base. Advancing to third on an error, Prather would score the game’s first run off a Carrizales ground out for the second out of the inning. Stevens had the first hit of the game, a single to right field with two outs to plate Cheyenne Thompson in what would prove to be the only runs of the game.

Prather and Stevens led the Patriots by going 2-for-3 in the game, while Thompson and Carrizales each had one hit. Prather and Carrizales were both 5-for-7 in the two-game Super Regional with Carrizales driving in four runs and Prather scoring four runs. The pair of Patriots will both carry six-game hitting streaks into Salem, while Thompson has reached base in 14 straight games after she went 1-for-4 with a single in the win. UT Tyler's defense turned three double plays in the two-game series and committed only one error. 

Linfield, which has won two national championships, was limited to 10 hits and one run in the Super Regional and finishes its season with a 33-16 record.

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