UT Tyler heading to OKC after Super Regional sweep - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

UT Tyler heading to OKC after Super Regional sweep

UT Tyler Athletics UT Tyler Athletics

UT Tyler Athletics Release 

The UT Tyler Patriots are heading to the program’s sixth NCAA Division III Championship after erupting for six runs in the fifth inning and earning a 7-3 win over East Texas Baptist on Saturday in the Tyler Super Regional at Suddenlink Field.

The Patriots (44-4) are the defending NCAA DIII National Champion and will look to defend their title next week at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium from May 25-30 in Oklahoma City. UT Tyler will be making its third straight trip to the national tournament and is on a five-game winning streak after sweeping through the regional rounds.

“The thing early on was to move past last year and how great it was,” UT Tyler coach Mike Reed said. “This group, and these seniors, wanted to leave their mark with a new experience on a new journey. They have fought all year long. They have been relentless with their effort and never stopped fighting. I’m super proud of them.”

Down 3-0 through four innings, the Patriots would score six of their seven runs in the fifth inning on hits an ETBU error. Lexi Ackroyd drove in the first run of the game with an opposite-field RBI double to left-center field and was followed by Cheyenne Thompson who ripped a double down the left-field line to cut the deficit. With only one out, Andrea Gonzales drilled a pitch into the gap to score Thompson and Kaylee Prather who had reached on a walk to give the Patriots a 4-3 lead. Three pitches later, KK Stevens blasted a two-run home run to center field and the Patriots completely flipped the script and took a 6-3 lead after having been limited to one hit in the first four innings by ETBU starter Jordan Anderson (17-4) who would take the loss. UT Tyler freshman Whitney Romero hit a leadoff home run in the sixth inning to give the Patriots the four-run lead and seven unanswered runs.

Miranda Leal (6-1) earned the win for the Patriots after throwing 3 1/3 innings of relief with only one hit allowed. A freshman from San Antonio, Leal came in for senior Alaina Kissinger who threw 3 2/3 innings before exiting the game with the Patriots down 3-0. Kissinger, who threw a complete game in a 9-1 win on Friday, struck out two and before Leal came in and shut down the Tigers with eight groundouts and two flyouts.

Thompson led the Patriots by going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. A sophomore from Mexia, Thompson now has 18 doubles and 52 RBI and was named the Tyler Super Regional Most Outstanding Player after having five RBI in the two-game sweep of the Tigers. Gonzales would finish the game 1-for-3 with two RBI to take her season’s total to 16 doubles and 41 RBI in her first year at UT Tyler while Romero now has two home runs in 18 at-bats this season. Kissinger was named the Tyler Super Regional Most Outstanding Pitcher after her dominant performance on Friday.

UT Tyler is playing in its 10th NCAA DIII tournament and is 46-18 all-time entering this year’s championship. The Patriots were the 2015 NCAA DIII national runner-up before winning the 2016 title. UT Tyler has made the NCAA DIII Championship in 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016 and now next week when they walk into ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

“Our goal every year to try to be our best and win the last game you play,” said Reed who is now 619-138 in his career. “We are excited about getting the chance to go play for it. In the softball world, Oklahoma City is special ground. For this team to be able to experience it is really special.”

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