Story courtesy of Texas Lutheran University Sports Information
TYLER, Texas -- Texas Lutheran Softball won its 38th consecutive game of 2017 by opening the NCAA Division III Softball Championship Tyler Regional with a 7-3 win Friday over the University of La Verne (Calif.).
In the round-robin format of the three-team regional at Suddenlink Field, La Verne started the day with a matchup against defending NCAA Division III champion University of Texas at Tyler. The Patriots defeated La Verne 9-0 in six innings in the 1 p.m. contest.
La Verne turned around and played TLU in the 4 p.m. game. The Leopards (31-14) were eliminated with the loss to the Bulldogs.
In the win over La Verne, TLU senior designated player Nicole Snow doubled three times, went 3-for-3, drove in a run and scored twice.
Senior right-fielder Brayden Pinckard tripled and drove in two runs in the Bulldogs' four-run fourth.
Kaymee Gooden and Snow also had RBI in the fourth.
Left-fielder Courtney Mica went 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored, and Gooden and Madisyn Cates each had two hits.
TLU collected 14 hits against the Leopards.
Amanda Lochte tossed three shutout innings to close out the game. She notched her second save of the season and preserved the school-record 21st win of the year for Maitlin Raycroft.
The Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher and Newcomer of the Year, Raycroft broke Taylor Grissom's record for wins in a season. Raycroft is now 21-2.
Against La Verne, Raycroft allowed three runs (all earned) in four innings of work. All of the runs came on a solo home run by Haley Gomez and a two-run shot from Alexis Schiff, who belted her 16th home run of the year. The senior first baseman is second in all of NCAA DIII for home runs.
The Bulldogs enter Saturday's regional championship round with an overall record of 38-4. TLU started the year 0-4.
The regional championship comes down to UT Tyler and TLU for the third time in four years. On the way to the national championship in 2016, UT Tyler knocked the Bulldogs out of the 2016 Tyler Regional in the championship round.
TLU and UT Tyler face-off at 2 p.m. Saturday in the first of two scheduled games at Suddenlink Field. If the teams each win a game on Saturday, a final game - set for noon Sunday - would be played at Suddenlink Field.