TYLER, Texas — Making its first NCAA Championship tournament since 2010, the La Verne softball team seemingly couldn't shake off big-stage jitters in a 9-0 loss to No. 4 Texas-Tyler in the opening game of the 2017 NCAA Texas-Tyler Regional at Suddenlink Field.
The Leopards managed just one hit, a double off the bat of Haley Gomez in the fifth inning.
The Patriots struck early. Kaylee Prather led off the game with a single through the left side and promptly stole second to put herself in scoring position. Cheyenne Thopmson then hit a single to right center to put the Patriots up 1-0.
La Verne starter Elisa Ponce (13-6) seemed to settle in as she escaped the first inning without further damage and kept Texas-Tyler scoreless through third. But the Patriots got a rally started with a hit batter with one out in the fourth and strung together five hits in a row to take a 5-0 lead.
The Patriots put up another 4-spot in the sixth to break the game open. Leadoff hitter Thompson reached on an error and Andrea Gonzales followed with a single up the middle. A groundout by KK Stevens advanced the runners and Mel Hinojosa came with a single to plate Thompson. Gonzales scored on a fielder's choice and Whitney Romero drove in two with a single.
Alaina Kissinger (23-2) picked up the win for Texas-Tyler.
La Verne will face No. 5 Texas Lutheran in an elimination game at 4 p.m.