2016 NCAA Division III National Champions
PREVIEW: @Patriot_sb to host Blazers at Suddenlink Field
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Belhaven (0-5)
#1 UT Tyler (6-0)
2/17/2017 | Tyler, Tx | Attendance: 225
UT Tyler000001313130
Win: Alaina Kissinger (4-0) 6.032205
Loss: Valiree Blair (0-3) 5.086601
Kaitlyn Blubaugh (BU) 211000
Makayla Reed (BU) 211000
Megan Goss (BU) 201200
KK Stevens (UTTSB) 423602

Thursday, February 16, 2017
by Wes Bloomquist || wbloomquist@uttyler.edu

TYLER – The No. 1-ranked UT Tyler softball team returns to action this weekend with a three-game set against Belhaven at Suddenlink Field.

The Patriots (5-0) are coming off a three-game sweep of Hardin-Simmons to open American Southwest Conference play, while the Blazers have opened their season with three losses to No. 5-ranked East Texas Baptist and a shutout loss to Millsaps. Belhaven was the only team to beat the Patriots in the regular season last year after taking two of three from UT Tyler in Jackson, Mississippi last February. The series begins at 6 p.m. on Friday before a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday. 


UT Tyler has outscored its opponents by a 47-8 margin and is hitting .443 as a team through five games this season, led by Cheyenne Thompson who is 13-for-17 with 11 RBI and Kaylee Prather who is 10-for-16 with 10 runs scored and seven stolen bases. A sophomore from Mexia, Thompson has two home runs and two doubles this season as a part of a .765 batting average and now has four home runs and 34 RBI in her career. Prather, a senior in her second season at UT Tyler, Prather now has 44 stolen bases in her career which is tied for second all-time with Julie Smith (2007-10) and is approaching the program’s record of 60 from Lauren Robenalt (2011-14). Prather is a .448 hitter at UT Tyler through 181 at-bats with 81 total hits and has scored 68 runs in 59 games played.

Lexi Ackroyd is 5-for-10 this season and now has 101 career hits, while Bianca Van Vlerah and Andrea Gonzales both have seven hits for the Patriots who have tallied 58 hits in the five games. Gonzales, a junior transfer from Elgin, leads the team with three doubles. Senior catcher KK Stevens has six RBI and five hits this season.

Alaina Kissinger was named the ASC Pitcher of the Week on Tuesday and enters this weekend with a 47-2 career record. A senior from Telephone, Kissinger has 298 career strikeouts with 10 coming this season in three starts and one relief appearances. She has started this season with a 3-0 record and also has one save. Whitney Romero is 2-0 in her freshman season with a team-leading 10 strikeouts. A right-hander from Louisiana, Romero has allowed only six hits in 12 innings of work for the Patriots in two starts and three appearances.

UT Tyler has three shutout wins this season and have won four of five games in run-rule shortened games. The Patriots have won 43 straight regular-season home games coming into the series against the Blazers which will not count towards the ASC standings.