UT Tyler brings wins national title - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

UT Tyler brings wins national title

SALEM, Virginia – For the third straight week the UT Tyler Patriots ended a tournament with a dogpile. For the first time in program history, the dogpile was to celebrate a NCAA Division III Softball National Championship.

UT Tyler (49-5) has won the 2016 National Championship after sweeping Messiah College in the finals with 3-0 and 7-0 wins on Monday at the Moyer Sports Complex. The Patriots went 5-1 at the national tournament en route to the championship, dominating the field with a 30-1 scoring advantage and ending the tournament having reached the pinnacle of the sport.

“It’s just unreal,” UT Tyler coach Mike Reed said. “This team has always just found a way to get it done. We’ve been here before and have dodged the question all week about wanting to win it. To come back this year and for them to be so hungry and motivated to stay on the mission is just an amazing feeling. I couldn’t be any more proud of them.”

Kelsie Batten (36-4) was named the NCAA DIII Championship’s Most Outstanding Player after earning four wins in the tournament and throwing 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief which ended on a strikeout to seal the championship. Batten earned the win in the 3-0 opener after matching a career-high with 10 strikeouts against the Falcons (47-6), while Alaina Kissinger (13-1) secured the win in the second game on Monday after striking out five and limiting the Falcons to only two hits in 4 1/3 innings.

While offense was hard to come by in the opener with the Patriots scoring their three runs in the top of the seventh, the championship-clinching win was an exhibition of the dominance which has the final margin of victory this season at 362-59. Vanessa Carrizales led the Patriots by going 2-for-4 with four RBI, including a three-run double into the right-center field gap with the bases loaded to give the Patriots a 4-0 lead in the third inning. The hit followed a run-scoring double from Raven Rodriguez for the game’s first run and preceded Lexi Ackroyd hitting an RBI single through the middle of the infield to score KK Stevens to cap a five-run inning. Rodriguez would hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth to plate Kaylee Prather who led off the inning with a triple and then Carrizales blasted a solo home run to center field to for the final run of the season on the final at-bat of her career.

Rodriguez would go 2-for-2 with the two RBI in her final game as a Patriot, while Prather was 3-for-4 and scored two runs from the leadoff spot in the lineup. Carrizales finished her career with 21 home runs, while Rodriguez had 235 hits and 172 RBI which are both the second most in program history. The senior class of Batten, Carrizales, Rodriguez, Emilee Burkhardt, Kristin Lopez, Britney Bledsoe and Jackie Mendez went 187-22 over the past four years.

“The seniors got together after last year and said that we were just going to get back to work and do what we needed to do,” Carrizales said. “It was so great to be back and were grateful for the opportunity. I wouldn’t want to be here with any other team.”

The Patriots, who earned an at-large bid the NCAA tournament after falling to East Texas Baptist in the American Southwest Conference Championship, would bounce back with a vengeance by rolling through the regional round with wins over Agnes Scott, No. 8 ETBU and No. 5 Texas Lutheran. Hosting on their home field for the second straight week, UT Tyler swept No. 20 Linfield with a 9-1 and 2-0 wins at the Tyler, Texas Super Regional to advance to Salem for the second straight season and to the program’s fifth NCAA DIII Championship.

UT Tyler set itself up to win the championship after opening Monday with the 3-0 win over Messiah in a game where the Patriots stranded 10 runners before breaking through will all three runs coming in the top of the seventh inning. Batten earned the complete-game shutout and matched her career-high with 10 strikeouts to keep the Falcons off the board and give her threatening offense a chance to win it.

The Patriots would reward Batten for a sensational performance in the seventh, breaking through with Lexi Ackroyd leading off the inning with a single and then moving to second on a Kaylee Prather sacrifice bunt. With Raven Rodriguez and Cheyenne Thompson reaching on errors to load the bases, Vanessa Carrizales hit a line drive to second base which landed just below the glove of the Falcon defender to score Ackroyd for the game’s first run. KK Stevens would drive him the second run with a single to center field and Bianca Van Vlerah followed by pushing a single down the left-field line to score pinch runner Kursten Jaime.

Batten, who allowed only four hits in the game, closed out the game with a strikeout, pop out and a groundout to Carrizales at third to give the Patriots the win. A senior from Huntington, Batten improved to 118-17 in her career with 555 strikeouts. It was the 26th shutout by the Patriots this season and the 40th in her career.

UT Tyler is now 574-134 all-time with five trips to the NCAA Division III Championship tournament and nine regional appearances since 2008 which was the first year out of of provisional membership. The program, which was started in 2005, quickly rose to national prominence and finished as the national runner-up last season and is now 13-9 all-time at the NCAA DIII Championship tournament.

UT Tyler is now home to five national champions with the 2013 Men’s Golf team winning the first team championship in program history, while Laura Lindsey earned the 2013 individual golf championship, Kevonte Shaw the 2015 Indoor 200-meter title and Whitney Simmons earning the NCAA DIII National Championship in the hammer throw on Saturday.

NCAA DIII Softball Championship All-Tournament Team
First Base - Ashley Powers (#5), So., Emory University
Pitcher - Lexi Marshall (#17), Sr., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
First Base - Erin Cressman (#27), Fr., Messiah College
Third Base - Brooke Pompeo (#4), Sr., Messiah College
Pitcher/Des. Player - Madelyn Yannetti (#14), Fr., Messiah
Designated Player - Ashley DeYoung (#16), Sr., Rowan University
Shortstop - Shilah Snead (#20), Sr., Rowan University
Pitcher - Lindsey Thayer (#15), So., St. John Fisher College
Centerfield - Lexi Ackroyd (#19), Jr., University of Texas at Tyler
Pitcher - Kelsie Batten (#12), Sr., University of Texas at Tyler (MOP)
Leftfield - Kristin Lopez (#25), Sr., University of Texas at Tyler
Shortstop - Raven Rodriguez (#3), Sr., University of Texas at Tyler
Second Base - Bianca Van Vlerah (#8), Jr., University of Texas at Tyler

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