Back-to-back homeruns launch Texas-Tyler to victory against Central (Iowa)
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. -- Back-to-back homeruns by Whitney Burt and Joey Cronin in the fifth combined with a RBI single from Carli Wheeler in the bottom of the eighth inning propelled UT-Tyler to a 5-4 win against Central (Iowa) on the second day of the 2013 NCAA Softball Championships at Gelein Field.
Tied 4-4 after seven complete, the Patriots (46-5) held the Dutch in the top of the eighth as Kelsie Batten forced a groundout and pop-up then struck out Central’s Lexi Cessna.
With the Patriots at the plate, Heather Abshire reached on a throwing error by Central’s Chelsea Greiner and moved to second when Rachel Howell was intentionally walked. With two on, Ashley Endlsey filed out to center field, bringing Wheeler to the plate. Wheeler then smacked the 1-1 pitch to center field to score Abshire for the game winner.
Central (32-10) took the first lead of the game in the top of the fourth inning when a walk and a single by put two Dutch on with one out. Rhianna Fleetwood then singled down the left field line which brought home Jordan Overland, but on appeal, Overland was called out for failing to touch third base. Central responded with a two out single from catcher Caitlyn Meyer that scored Annie Sarcone. The Dutch made the score 2-0 on a successful double steal that brought Cessna home.
The Patriots put together their best inning of the championships, so far, in the bottom of the fifth as Raven Rodriguez and Howell led off the inning with singles. Endlsey ground out to right field to advance the runners to second and third, and Coach Mike Reed put in Whitney Burt to pinch hit for Wheeler. Facing a 2-2 count, Burt blasted a rise ball delivered by Central starter Mallory Schulenberg over the right field wall for a three-run homer to give UT Tyler the lead.
Cronin welcomed new Central pitcher Kelsey Stender to the game by taking the first pitch offered for a home run to almost the exact same spot as Burt’s to give UT Tyler a 4-2 lead.
Central evened the score in the top of the sixth on a bases load blooper over third baseman Endsley by Courtney Meyer. The inning ended on when Brittney Batten threw out the Dutch’s Caitlyn Meyer trying to steal third.
Kelsey Batten took the win for the Patriots, going 7.1 innings to improve to 24-2 on the year; Abshire pitched .2 innings in relief. Vanessa Carrizales was 2-for-4 for UT Tyler and Cronin went 1-for-2 with two walks in the leadoff position.
Central committed three errors in the game.