(Photo courtesy of Texas-Tyler Sports Information)
(Portions of this story courtesy of Texas Lutheran University)
TYLER, Texas - The Texas Lutheran Bulldogs'
2014 softball season came to a close Sunday with a 5-1 loss to
sixth-ranked East Texas Baptist University in the NCAA Division III
Softball Tyler Regional championship final.
The Bulldogs (33-9) finished as the regional runner-up. ETBU (42-7) advanced to the super regional to face Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.) for the right to play in the NCAA DIII Softball World Series.
TLU made its first NCAA post-season appearance a memorable one. The Bulldogs opened the regional Friday with a 2-1 upset win in 10 innings over No. 3 University of Texas at Tyler, the regional host and the American Southwest Conference champion.
After the win over UT Tyler, the Bulldogs fell twice to ETBU, the ASC runner-up and a past national champion. The Bulldogs dropped a 3-0 decision to the Tigers on Saturday and lost 5-1 in the championship round Sunday. TLU needed two wins Sunday over ETBU to reach the super regional.
ETBU went 3-0 in the regional and twice beat TLU with dominant pitching performances from right-hander Shelby Parker, the regional's Most Valuable Player.
Against TLU on Sunday, Parker (22-5) took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before the Bulldogs scratched out two infield singles. Parker struck out two and allowed only three hits and a run.
The Bulldogs scored in the seventh inning on a solo home run to left-center field off the bat of junior second baseman Ashley Jacobsen. Jacobsen, a First Team All-West Region selection and the SCAC Player of the Year, hit her third homer of the season.
Jacquelyn Brown and Molly Gorrie produced the other two Bulldog hits. Gorrie broke up the no-hitter in the sixth with a bunt single.
Taylor Grissomdropped to 9-3 with the pitching loss. Grissom, the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year, went four innings and allowed just one earned run. Two of the three runs against her were unearned. ETBU scored a pair of runs in the third on a pair of TLU errors that prolonged the inning.
Jayme Perez collected two hits and scored twice for ETBU. The Tigers' received RBI from Alyssa Romero, Jessica Bowden and Lacey Lindsey.
ETBU's Lindsey, Romero, Parker, Lacy Liles and Katy Hill were named to the regional All-Tournament Team.
TLU's Grissom, Gorrie and shortstop Grace Estes received regional All-Tournament honors.
The Bulldogs, champions of the SCAC, tied school record for single-season overall wins (33) and single-season conference victories (22) and won the university's first-ever conference title in softball.