Linfield softball bounced at NCAA regional at Texas Tyler
The Wildcats were selected to play in the Tyler, Texas regional, and their first round opponent was a familiar foe in Redlands. Linfield fell 3-0 Friday to the Bulldogs, which sent them to a 9 a.m. elimination game Saturday against the home team and No. 1 seed in the tournament, Texas-Tyler.
With the win, Redlands (35-10) ended a 13-game losing streak to the Wildcats (36-7) that goes back to the 2007 season.
Linfield was hurt by three costly errors, base running issues and a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch. Those errors (3) enabled Redlands’ Kristen Hooper to score what proved to be the winning run. Wildcat catcher McKenna Spieth attempted to pick off Kayla Uphold at second base, but the throw went into center field, which allowed Hooper to reach home for the third and final run.
Linfield had its best opportunity to make a comeback in the sixth inning. Megan Wallo and Karleigh Prestianni each singled with one out and a wild pitch enabled the runners to advance to second and third, but Uphold got two straight outs to end the inning.
Saturday, Linfield’s season came to an end with a 4-1loss to the Patriots in its elimination game. The lone bright spot for the Wildcats came on a home run by Prestianni, the final home run of her collegiate career on her final Linfield at bat. Prestianni had two hits in the final game of her career.
Texas-Tyler pitcher Kelsie Batten improved to 22-1 in the circle and held the Wildcats to three hits. Haylie Watson had the third Wildcat hit.
Rachel Howell smacked an RBI single up the middle for a 1-0 lead, which remained until the sixth inning. Pinch hitter Brittany Burt singled with the bases loaded, and Brittany Batten drew a bases-loaded walk to make the score 3-0.
Paavola (22-4) took the loss. She struck out seven but surrendered 10 hits and three walks.
Linfield had reached the NCAA championship game each of the past three years and won the national championship in 2011.