OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (May 25) – Defending champion Texas-Tyler showed off its offensive prowess with a pair of solo home runs as the Patriots knocked off top-ranked Virginia Wesleyan 4-1 Thursday afternoon in the first round of the NCAA Division III Softball Championship.
No. 4-ranked Tyler entered the game hitting a nation-leading .389 on the season and was facing VWC star pitcher Hanna Hull, who entered the game with the most wins (29) and second-best earned run average (0.44) in Division III. Cheyenne Thompson belted a solo homer to center field in the bottom of the first to stake the Patriots to the early lead and the Marlins never recovered.
Whitney Romero added a solo shot and Kaylee Prather scored on an illegal pitch after hitting a triple to up UTT’s lead to 3-0. VWU got its lone run in the top of the sixth on Cassetty Howerin’s RBI double, but the Patriots answered in the bottom of the inning on Mel Hinojosa’s run-scoring single to make it 4-1.
Tyler finished with eight hits, getting two apiece from Prather and Thompson. The Patriots improved to 45-4 and will face Amherst at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the second round.
Alaina Kissinger earned the pitching win, improving to 25-2. Miranda Leal threw the final 1 2/3 innings to pick up her second save of the season.
The Marlins were limited to five hits, getting two from Madison Glaubke. Hull was saddled with the pitching loss, dropping to 29-3. VWC will face Trine in an elimination game at 11 a.m. Friday.