2016 NCAA Division III National Champions
RECAP: @Patriot_sb opens season with two shutout wins
Pacific (1-3)
#1 UT Tyler (1-0)
2/3/2017 | Tyler, Tx | Attendance: 255
UT Tyler0702X9100
Win: Alaina Kissinger (1-0) 5.060001
Loss: Martin (0-1) 1.156422
Chan (PAC-SB) 202000
Andrea Gonzales (UTTSB) 303100

Friday, February 3, 2017
by Wes Bloomquist || wbloomquist@uttyler.edu

TYLER – Cheyenne Thompson and Andrea Gonzales had five hits each to help lead the No. 1-ranked UT Tyler softball team to a pair of opening day shutout wins over Pacific University and Centenary College on Friday at Suddenlink Field.

The Patriots (2-0) started with a 9-0 victory over the Boxers in five innings before ending the day with an 8-0 win over the Ladies on the first day of the season. UT Tyler would finish the first day with a .431 team batting average which included three doubles and a two-run home run by Thompson. A sophomore from Mexia, Thompson led the Patriots with six RBI while Kaylee Prather led the team with four runs scored and five stolen bases.

UT Tyler senior Alaina Kissinger (1-0) earned the win over Pacific after throwing five scoreless innings by scattering six hits and not allowing a walk. Kissinger improved to 45-2 in her career with the win, while freshman Whitney Romero (1-0) earned the victory against Centenary. A Louisiana native, Romero struck out seven in six scoreless innings for her first career victory. A right-hander, Romero allowed only three hits and didn’t walk a batter.

Gonzales led UT Tyler by going 3-for-3 with a double in the opener against Pacific where the Patriots would score seven runs in the second inning and two more in the fourth to take a run-shortened win. Gonzales would open the big inning with an opposite-field double down the left-field line and scored the first run of the season on an infield season by Lexi Ackroyd. Prather would drive in the next run with another infield single before Thompson singled to right field to score Bianca Van Vlerah and Prather. Gonzales, batting for the second time in the inning, would single to left field to score Thompson. Courtney Fisher, playing in her first game as a Patriot, singled up the middle in the fourth to drive in pinch runner Kursten Jaime and Ackroyd took a bases-loaded walk to bring in the ninth run.

Thompson would lead the Patriots in the second game by going 4-for-4 with four RBI and scored two runs. She would drive in the first run of the game in the first inning with a single to left field to score Prather who took a lead-off walk and then picked up two more RBI in the third by following a Van Vlerah leadoff single with the third home run of her career. Van Vlerah was 3-for-4 in the game with two RBI and Prather went 2-for-3 with three runs scored. UT Tyler would score three runs in the bottom of the sixth to end the game early and secure two run-shortened shutout wins.

Prather, who set a UT Tyler season record with 37 stolen bases, was 5-for-5 on stolen base on the day. She was 3-for-6 with two walks as the leadoff hitter, while Thompson was 2-for-2 on stolen bases to go along with her RBI production and Van Vlerah stole on her only attempt as the Patriots finished the day 8-for-8 on stolen bases.

UT Tyler will open American Southwest Conference play next weekend with a three-game set against Hardin-Simmons in Abilene before returning home to host Belhaven (Feb. 17-18) in its next home series. The Patriots went 29-0 in ASC play last season and have now won 38 straight regular-season home games after sweeping Pacific and Centenary.