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TYLER, April 18, 2013-- The No. 2 ranked UT Tyler softball team has repeated as American Southwest Conference East Division champions, with four games still remaining in the regular season. The Patriots are currently 19-1 in conference play, and 34-2 overall.
Head coach Mike Reed has led the Patriots to three ASC East Division championships, including two in-a-row in 2012 and 2013, with the first coming in 2010.
Even though the Patriots were off last night, they clinched the east with a loss by second-place East Texas Baptist, who dropped their first game of a doubleheader with Louisiana College.
This season, UT Tyler has been stellar, being ranked as high as No. 2 in the country in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association's Top-25 poll.
The Patriots are currently on a 14-game winning streak, with the last loss coming against ASC rival No. 14 East Texas Baptist on March 21 in Marshall.
UT Tyler's only other loss on the season came in a 3-0 loss to Illinois Wesleyan at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Georgia.
Currently, the Patriots boast a team batting average of .361, which ranks 15th in the country while the pitching staff ranks 14th with a 1.58 team ERA. UT Tyler leads the conference in both categories.
Senior Joey Cronin is having a standout season, tying the ASC record for most doubles in a season with 22, and ranking first in the conference in batting average hitting .473.
The pitching staff has been led by two stellar performers, senior Heather Abshire and freshman Kelsie Batten.
Abshire boasts a 16-1 record with a 1.57 ERA, while also ranking second on the team in batting average (.397) and hits with 46.
Batten has an impressive 17-1 record, leading the team in ERA (1.17) and strikeouts with 59.
Seven of the Patriots starters are batting over .320, while the team also boasts the best fielding percentage in the conference with a .968 average.
The Patriots have four remaining regular season games, all at home against Ozarks, who are currently 12-22 overall and 4-16 in the ASC east division.
UT Tyler has a 30-2 record against Ozarks all-time, with the last loss coming last year in an 8-1 loss in Clarksville.
The four-game series with the Lady Eagles begins Friday at 2 p.m., and concludes Saturday at 1 p.m. in Tyler.
Article by Jeff Williford
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