The second-ranked UT Tyler softball squad began their 2012 season in winning fashion Monday night at UT Tyler Softball Field. The Patriots thumped Mary Hardin-Baylor 7-1 and 11-3 in the doubleheader.
UT Tyler, who returns five starters from last year’s national third-place team, wasted no time in putting up runs against the Cru in the first game. Lauren Robenalt singled, stole second and later scored on an error by UMHB first baseman Ashton Feight. Katelyn Thomason, who walked in the inning, also scored on the play.
Thomason drove in the Patriots’ third run of the game in the third inning. Her single to left-center plated Robenalt, and UT Tyler led 3-0 after three frames.
The Cru posted their lone run of the ballgame against Patriots’ pitcher Heather Abshire in the top of the fourth inning. Victoria Gomez singled to start the inning and scored on a groundout after moving to third on a wild pitch.
UT Tyler, however, scored a pair of runs in the fifth and sixth to lock up their first win of the season. Thomason picked up another RBI in the fifth and also scored a run in the inning. The Patriots’ final runs came on a two-run homer by Joey Cronin in the sixth.
Abshire earned the win for UT Tyler in the circle, allowing only three hits in the complete game effort.
The Patriots jumped on the board early in the second game of the doubleheader as well, scoring three runs in the game’s opening frame. Carli Wheeler led off the inning with a walk and later scored on a single by Thomason. Ashley Endsley picked up the other two RBIs in the inning, driving in Thomason and Taylor Petrick on a double down the right field line.
Mary Hardin-Baylor pushed across a run in the top of the second, but six runs in the bottom of the inning by the Patriots put a lockdown on the lead.
Wheeler and Ashley Johnson scored the first runs of the inning on a fielder’s choice by Cronin. Robenalt scored next on Thomason’s fourth RBI of the game. Petrick followed Thomason with a two-RBI triple down the right field, and scored the final run of the inning on a single by Endsley.
The Cru added two runs in the third inning. Caitlin Bollier singled and later scored on an error. Gomez scored the second run on a double by Hannah White.
UT Tyler scored two runs of their own in the fourth. Rachel Howell and Johnson recorded RBIs in the inning, and the Patriots closed out the game in the top of the fifth to start the season 2-0.
Victoria Combs pitched the first two innings for UT Tyler and earned the win. Wheeler worked the final three innings and struck out five.
“I thought we came out and got a great team win today,” softball head coach Mike Reed said. “We really wanted to try and take advantage of our athleticism, and I thought we did that early with our short game and execution and in the run game.”
UT Tyler continues their 2012 campaign Thursday when they open American Southwest Conference play against UT Dallas in Richardson. The first game is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.
The Patriots return home on Sunday in a non-conference matchup against Southwestern University. The first game is slated to begin at 1 p.m.