Patriots fall in Salem - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Patriots fall in Salem

SALEM, Virginia – UT Tyler Athletics Release 

The No. 3-ranked UT Tyler Patriots will play an elimination game at the NCAA Division III Softball Championships at 9 a.m. on Sunday after St. John Fisher catcher Karlie Neale hit a solo home run to lead off the top of the seventh inning to lift the Cardinals to a 1-0 win on Saturday at the Moyer Complex. The winner will advance to the best-of-3 championship finals which will begin on Monday, while the loser will exit the tournament. 

The Patriots (46-5), who were shut out for only the third time this season, had their run of seven straight NCAA tournament wins halted with SJC pitcher Lindsey Thayer limiting the potent lineup to only three hits throughout the game. UT Tyler, which earned a 2-0 win over St. John Fisher on Thursday in the tournament opener, won that game with Lexi Ackroyd hitting a two-run home run making the difference of the two games coming down to two swings. Like Ackroyd on Thursday, the home run was the first of the season for Neale. 

“It was a tough battle,” UT Tyler coach Mike Reed said. “Their pitcher did a great job. We worked hard on a plan, but sometimes a great pitcher can get at your plan. We had some chances and moved some runners over. It’s just getting timely hitting. The first time we played them we got a big hit and tonight they came up with it. We’ll regroup and be ready to go tomorrow.”

On Saturday, the Patriots were stifled by the sophomore right-hander who finished the game with seven strikeouts in a pitcher’s duel which saw UT Tyler senior Kelsie Batten strike out nine and allow only four hits entering the seventh inning. In a scoreless game, Neale stepped up to start the inning 0-for-2 with a strikeout. That would change though on a 1-1 pitch that she hit over the left-field fence for the game’s only run.

Raven Rodriguez and KK Stevens went 1-for-3 in the game with Ackroyd going 1-for-2 to account for the three hits, while leadoff hitter Kaylee Prather was 0-for-1 with a sacrifice bunt and a walk. The walk came in the sixth inning with her drawing the free pass on five pitches. She would steal second on the next pitch – her 37th of the season – but would not advance beyond that point after Rodriguez and Cheyenne Thompson struck out and Vanessa Carrizales grounded out to third to end the threat. UT Tyler would strand four runners in the game, with Rodriguez not scoring in the first after a single and Bianca Van Vlerah standing at first after getting hit by a pitch with only one out in the second. The Patriots would strand a runner for the third straight inning after Ackroyd singled to start the third, but would only advance to second on a Prather sac bunt and then Rodriguez striking out and Thompson flying out.

Batten (34-4) takes the loss despite her nine strikeouts and limiting the Cardinals to five hits in a 99-pitch performance. A four-time NFCA All-American, Batten also had nine strikeouts in the first game against St. John Fisher on Thursday which is one shy of her single-game best. She has now record 22 strikeouts in 18 innings of work in Salem this week going into Sunday’s game.

“We just have to bounce back,” Batten said. “We have to learn from our mistakes. We need to learn from what we did good, and what we did bad. Our coaching staff does a great job of watching video and going over everything with us.”

St. John Fisher has now staved off elimination from the tournament with a 2-0 win over St. Thomas on Friday and then had to earn a 1-0 win over MIT on Saturday morning to face the Patriots. SJF is now 3-1 in Salem.

UPDATED TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

Game 13 – Sunday at 9 a.m.
Game 14 (if necessary) –  Sunday at 11:30 p.m.
Game 15 – Monday at 12 p.m.
Game 16 – Monday at 2:30 p.m.
Game 17 (if necessary) – Tuesday at 10 a.m.

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