CLERMONT, Fla.—Division III No. 3 University of Texas at Tyler Softball (13-1) defeated NCAA Division II opponent No. 22 Augustana University (8-5) with a 7-6 score Saturday evening at THE Spring Games.
Neither team was would to score through the first two innings, but the Patriots got on the board in the top of the second inning with the first run of the game. Sophomore outfielder Haleigh Swinney (Crosby, Texas) led off the inning with a single to center field. She would score the run with the next two UT Tyler batters reaching on Viking errors.
Senior left-hander Colleen Bentke (Brenham, Texas) got the start in the circle for the Patriots. She faced minimum through the first three innings and did not allow a base runner. She struck out one batter in both the first and second innings before punching out a pair of Augustana batters in the third.
The Patriots added to their lead in the top of the fourth. The Vikings walked three straight batters to load the bases and then senior infielder Victoria Gonzales (Elgin, Texas) was hit by a pitch to plate senior outfielder Dariann Resendez (Austin, Texas). Senior infielder Theresa Gonzales (Elgin, Texas) was also walked later in the inning to score senior outfielder Nicole Garcia (Sugar Land, Texas).
To make it interesting, Augustana scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to trim the Patriot lead to one, 3-2. UT Tyler quickly extended their lead in the next half inning with four runs coming home. Victoria Gonzales singled with two runners on, plating Resendes from third. Swinney came around to score on a groundout by sophomore catcher Ashley Perez (Pflugerville, Texas) for the second run.
With a runner on base, Theresa Gonzales hit her team-leading fourth home run of the season allowing two more runs to score. Her second home run in the past three games ahead, 7-2 heading into the final half inning.
Trying to extend the ball game, the Vikings would not go down easily. The first six Augustana batters of the inning reached base with four runs crossing home plate. With the bases loaded and now outs, UT Tyler recorded three-consecutive outs to end the game and secure a one-run victory over the nationally ranked NCAA Division II squad.
Theresa Gonzales and Victoria Gonzales both lead the Patriots with three RBI's while Swinney was the lone batter with multiple hits in the game going 2-2. In the circle, Bentke moved to 7-1 on the season after going five innings and surrendering two runs. Junior right-hander Miranda Leal (San Antonio, Texas) pitched one inning of relief while junior right-hander Whitney Romero (Lafayette, Louisiana) recorded the final three outs to get her first save of the season.