FARMERS BRANCH — The No. 2-ranked UT Tyler Patriots rebounded from a rare loss to reach their sixth straight American Southwest Conference softball tournament championship game.
The Patriots (41-3) will play No. 12 East Texas Baptist (33-10) at 1 p.m. today at Oran Good Park. UT Tyler must defeat the Tigers twice to win its second straight and third overall league title. The Tigers are seeking their seventh crown.
After dropping a 10-9 decision to ETBU on Friday, the Patriots bounced back to score a 9-3 win over Mary Hardin-Baylor in an elimination game.
In the elimination game, the Kelsie Batten (20-1) threw seven innings to get the win.
Heather Abshire got the Patriot bats going against UMHB with a two-run homer in the first. Brittney Batten was 2 for 3 with two RBIs, while Joey Cronin had two hits to add to her ASC record for hits.
In the first game of the day, UT Tyler saw its 20-game win streak halted in a wild winner's bracket matchup with East Texas Baptist.
In the loss, Cronin broke the all-time ASC record for hits in a career with 248. Cronin broke the record of current UT Tyler assistant Christy Shipley who set the record while playing with ETBU.
The Patriots took a 1-0 lead on Raven Rodriguez's homer, but later fell behind 7-1 thanks in part to a three-run homer by Kelsey DeCarolis.
UT Tyler gradually fought back to take an 8-7 in the sixth as they received key hits from Rachel Howell (two-run double) and an RBI single from Kelsie Batten.
After a two-run double by Howell gave the Patriots a 9-7 lead, it was found that Howell was not reentered into the game, causing her to be called out and the runners to return to base.
With the game still tied 7-7, Lauren Robenalt had an RBI single for an 8-7 lead.
The Tigers answered again, scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth, highlighted by a Tawny Hank homer.
Down 10-8 in the seventh, UT Tyler made things interesting, loading the bases.
After Batten walked to force in a run, ETBU's Kelly Jo McClendon got Howell to ground out, ending the game.
American Southwest Conference
Oran Good Park, Farmers Branch
Fields No. 3 and No. 5
Game 1: [East 1] UT Tyler 6, [West 4] Concordia-Texas 0
Game 2: [West 2] Mary Hardin-Baylor 4, [East 3] Louisiana College 2
Game 3: [East 2] East Texas Baptist 8, [West 3] Howard Payne 0, 5 innings
Game 4: [West 1] Texas Lutheran 7, [East 4] UT Dallas 1
Game 5 (Elimination): Louisiana College 3, Concordia-Texas 1, Concordia-Texas eliminated
Game 6 (Elimination): Howard Payne 7, UT Dallas 6, UT Dallas eliminated
Game 7: UT Tyler 6, Mary Hardin-Baylor 0
Game 8: East Texas Baptist 3, Texas Lutheran 1
Friday, April 26
Game 9 (Elimination): Louisiana College 4, Texas Lutheran 1, Texas Lutheran eliminated
Game 10 (Elimination): Mary Hardin-Baylor 3, Howard Payne 1, Howard Payne eliminated
Game 11: East Texas Baptist 10, UT Tyler 9
Game 12 (Elimination): Mary Hardin-Baylor 10, Louisiana College 2, Louisiana College eliminated
Game 13 (Elimination): UT Tyler 9, Mary Hardin-Baylor 3, Mary Hardin-Baylor eliminated
Saturday, April 27
Game 14 (Championship): East Texas Baptist vs. UT Tyler, 1 p.m., F5
Game 15 (Championship II): If necessary, start 30 minutes after Game 14 conclusion, F5
Sunday, April 28 for Inclement Weather, if needed.