Mendez hits single to send Texas-Tyler past Luther in national tournament
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. -- Coming to the plate for her only at-bat of the national tournament so far, Jackie Mendez singled in the eventual game-winning run and helped Texas-Tyler score a 4-1 win that eliminated Luther and advanced the Patriots in the 2013 NCAA Division III Softball Championship.
UT-Tyler (47-5), which has now won two games in a row, will face the loser of Montclair State versus Salisbury at Gelein Field.
Neither team scored until the top of the third inning, when Luther's Elisa Smith slapped a single to right field to score Kayla Hatting.
The Patriots responded in the bottom of the inning, when Raven Rodriguez sent a double down the right field line to bring in Carli Wheeler. Wheeler had singled to get on base and Joey Cronin moved her to second on a sacrifice bunt.
The score remained tied at one until the sixth as both teams missed scoring opportunities with runners on base. UT-Tyler stranded eight runners in the game.
After starter Kelsie Batten and the UT-Tyler defense held Luther in the top of the sixth, Rahel Howell drew a walk to begin the bottom of the inning and a speedy Lauren Robenalt bunted herself to first. Whitney Burt then pinch hit for UT-Tyler and singled to center to load the bases. Mendez was brought in to pinch hit for Wheeler.
On the game-winning single by Mendez, an error by Luther's Miranda McCay allowed Robenalt to score. The fourth run of the inning came on a Cronin RBI single to center to scored Burt.
Robenalt went 2-for-2 with a walk in the game, while Cronin and Rodriguez were both 2-for-3.
Luther ended the season with a 33-11 record as Becca Girvan took the loss despite a six-strikeout performance.