EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — The UT Tyler softball team finished fourth in the nation after dropping a 1-0 decision to Salisbury (Md.) in an elimination game on Monday in the NCAA Division III College World Series at Gelein Field.
UT Tyler finished the season with a program-best 47-6 record. The Patriots were competing in their third College World Series. In 2009, UT Tyler finished fifth (Montclair, N.J.), while in 2011 the Patriots were third (Salem, Va.).
The game ended in the top of the seventh on an odd series of controversial calls that saw the Patriots put runners at the corners with two outs for a chance to tie the game, but Raven Rodriguez was declared out for leaving first base after having reached on a fielder's choice.
Patriots coach Mike Reed fervently pleaded his case to the umpires for several minutes as fans and officials struggled to understand what was happening, but the play stood as called and the game was declared over.
Reed offered a "no comment" during the post-game press conference when asked about the call.
The lone run of the game came for Salisbury in the bottom of the third when Hannah Mills doubled down the right field line on a full-count, two-out pitch to score Harley Hill.
UT Tyler's best chance to score came in the top of the second inning with one out and the bases loaded, but two-straight pop-ups left all three runners stranded.
Salisbury (42-4) lost the semifinal game to Cortland (N.Y.), 7-6.
Tufts (Mass.) won the national championship with a 6-5 win over Cortland. The Jumbos scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth to help secure its first national title.
Monday's game was the final time eight seniors will wear the UT Tyler uniform: Joey Cronin, Carli Wheeler, Ashley Endsley, Kristin Anderson, Taylor Sells, Brittney Batten, Heather Abshire and Rachel Howell.
"It's definitely been special," Cronin, the American Southwest Conference's all-time hits leader, said of the season. "We are very blessed to have gone out with the group that we did. It's been an honor to play here and with these eight seniors and the coaches we have. It's meant a lot to all of us and made a mark on all of our lives."
The 2014 College World Series will be held at UT Tyler Ballpark.
2013 NCAA Division III
Softball World Series
Carson Field, Eau Claire, Wis.
Game 1: Cortland (N.Y.) 2, Salisbury (Md.) 1
Game 2: Luther (Iowa) 8, Anderson (Ind.) 1
Game 3: Tufts (Mass.) 6, Texas-Tyler 0
Game 4: Montclair State (N.J.) 4, Central (Iowa) 1
Game 5: Salisbury 2, Anderson 1, Anderson eliminated
Game 6: UT Tyler 5, Central 4, 8 innings, Central eliminated
Game 7: Cortland 9, Luther 1
Game 8: Tufts 3, Montclair State 1
Game 9: UT Tyler 4, Luther 1, Luther eliminated
Game 10: Salisbury 3, Montclair State 1, Montclair State eliminated
Game 11: Tufts 6, Cortland 0
Game 12: Salisbury 1, UT Tyler 0, UT Tyler eliminated
Game 13: Cortland 7, Salisbury 6, Salisbury eliminated
Game 14: Tufts 6, Cortland 5, Tufts national champions