Armed with extra incentive, top-ranked Linfield put to rest the hex of the Texas-Tyler Patriots, a team that had handed them four consecutive defeats in the NCAA Division III playoffs, including season-ending extra-inning losses in 2008 and 2009.

The Wildcats broke loose from a 1-all tie with a six-run explosion in the fourth inning. Though Patriots pitcher Stacy Shepherd prevented Linfield from its bread-and-butter play – the home run – the Wildcats cashed in nine hits and a pair of UTT errors to vault themselves into the national championship game for the second-consecutive season.

Jaydee Baxter doubled and drove in a pair of runs, and freshman designated player Haylie Watson came through with a pair of key hits to help the Wildcats avenge an earlier 4-0 blanking to the Patriots earlier in the eight-team, double-elimination Division III Finals.

Karina Paavola pitched the first four innings, giving a run and four hits. Once the Wildcats pounced on the Patriots for a 7-1 lead in the fourth, Lauren Harvey came on in relief and held UT-Tyler hitless the rest of the way.

Shepherd (18-5) took the loss in her final game in Patriots uniform. Fellow seniors Whitney Wyly had a pair of hits, but All-American Brittanni Hanna was held without a hit.