Shepherd cools down Linfield
Wildcats shut out for the first time this season
SALEM, Va. -- Texas-Tyler upset Linfield, the nation's top-ranked team, 4-0 to advance to the winner's bracket final of the NCAA Division III Championships.
UT-Tyler (40-11) will meet Christopher Newport at the Moyer Complex for the right to advance to the national championship game.
Stacy Shepherd held the Wildcats (46-3), who came into the game with the NCAA's second best offense, to just four singles in the complete-game effort. She handed Linfield just its third loss of the season, as well as the Wildcats' only shutout of the year.
Prior to Saturday, Linfield had outscored opponents 59-0 in the 2011 NCAA Championships.
The Patriots broke open the scoring in the bottom of the third when Brittanni Hanna, who led off the inning with a double, came home on a throwing error by Linfield pitcher Claire Velaski that also allowed Lauren Robenalt to reach first.
The score held at 1-0, despite Linfield threatening with two runners on in both the fourth and sixth innings. The Wildcats' best chance to score came in the top of the sixth when they put two runners on with just one out. Shepherd responded by collecting two of her three strikeouts to end the threat.
The Patriots would go on to pad their lead. Katelyn Thomason hit an RBI single that scored Joey Cronin. Linfield went to the bullpen and brought in Karina Paavola, but Taylor Freudenberg greeted the new pitcher with a two-RBI single to center to bring around Thomason and Whitney Wyly.
UT Tyler put Linfield down in order in the top of the seventh to end the game. Hanna and Thomason both went 2-for-3 for the Patriots.
Linfield drops to the elimination bracket and will face Eastern Connecticut State.