2016 NCAA Division III National Champions
PREVIEW: @Patriot_sb to open season on Wednesday
UT Tyler (1-0)
Southwestern (2-3)
2/14/2018 | Georgetown, Texas | Attendance: 218
UT Tyler00110136121
Win: Colleen Bentke (1-0) 7.050006
Loss: Netek (0-1) 6.0126632
Andrea Gonzales (UTTSB) 212000
Ashley Perez (UTTSB) 412200
Hannah Moore (UTTSB) 402100
Silvas (SUSB) 302000

Wednesday, February 14, 2018
by Wes Bloomquist | wbloomquist@uttyler.edu

TYLER – The No. 3-ranked UT Tyler softball team will begin its season with a noon doubleheader against Southwestern on Wednesday in Georgetown before traveling to Abilene for a three-game series against McMurry on Saturday and Sunday.

The UT Tyler roster is made up of 11 returners and 14 newcomers who represent a program which is coming off its third straight trip to the NCAA Division III National Championship tournament where they would reach the semifinal after winning the 2016 NCAA DIII national title. UT Tyler is beginning its 15th season and is 515-109 all-time. The program is led by head coach Mike Reed who owns a 620-140 record entering his 18th year. The Patriots finished the 2017 season with a 46-6 overall record and as the NCAA DIII Tyler Super Regional Champion, NCAA DIII Tyler Regional Champion and the American Southwest Conference regular-season champion.

The Pirates are 1-1 this season after splitting with McMurry last Friday and are coming off a 2017 season where they went 18-24. Southwestern is scheduled to play at Mary Hardin-Baylor on Tuesday before hosting the Patriots on Wednesday at Taylor-Sanders Field. 

Andrea Gonzales returns for the Patriots for her senior season after hitting .407 with 41 RBI last year. A left-handed hitter from Elgin, Gonzales started all 52 games last season at first base and would finish the season as an NFCA All-Region and ASC All-Conference selection after having 16 doubles, one home run and 42 singles. Whitney Romero also returns for the Patriots after a freshman season where she pitched throughout the season and showed her hitting prowess late in the year. A sophomore from Lafayette, Louisiana, Romero went 14-1 in the circle with a 1.36 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 23 appearances. At the plate, Romero hit .393 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 28 plate appearances. Miranda Leal is also back after her freshman season where she went 6-2 with 29 strikeouts and a 2.73 ERA in 19 appearances.

UT Tyler senior Hannah Moore started 39 games and played in 48 last season at shortstop and returns after hitting .308. Moore drove in 35 runs and finished her junior season with four home runs, 12 doubles and two triples. Courtney Fisher made 22 starts last season as a junior and is back after hitting .388 with 15 RBI, while Kursten Jaime scored 21 runs for the Patriots in 2018.

UT Tyler will look to replace talented players who graduated with a mix of young players from last year’s team and new players who were recruited to come in and produce right away. The returners include Kailey Henderson, Haley Melton, Natalie Romeo, Alyssa Henry and Jewell Moody-Davis, while newcomers are Nicole Garcia, Victoria Gonzales, Colleen Bentke, Ashley Perez, Shae Harris, Makayla Dominguez, Shea Smith, Haleigh Swinney, Sam Junkin, Lynsey Mitchell, Dariann Resendez, Theresa Gonzales, Emily Deramus and Courtney Campbell.

Helping Reed lead the program is associate head coach Whitney Wyly and assistant coaches Leah Brown and Anthony Springer.

The Patriots will open ASC play this weekend with a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday against McMurry before a noon finale on Sunday in Abilene. The War Hawks are in their first season as a program. UT Tyler will return home to host Concordia next weekend, starting with the series opener at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23 before a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 24 at Suddenlink Field.