From UT Tyler Athletics
TYLER, TX (Press Release)- Kelsie Batten threw a two-hit shutout to secure the 100th win of her career with her catcher KK Stevens drilling a three-run home run to end a 9-0 run-shortened win over Concordia on Friday in the series opener at Suddenlink Field.
Batten (18-2) is only the 11th pitcher in NCAA Division III history to reach 100 wins in their career and is already the all-time wins leader in UT Tyler and ASC history. Batten is now 100-15 in her career in 134 appearances for the Patriots and she is also the all-time leader with 36 shutouts, 447 strikeouts and 66 complete games. Her 114 career starts are tied for the 22nd most in NCAA DIII history, while Friday's win extends the Patriots winning streak to 21 and takes them to 18-0 in conference play.
"It's been a great four years and I couldn't have done anything without my teammates," Batten said. "It's great to get my 100th win but the credit goes to the defense and offense. We made hard plays look really easy again tonight and then we scored big on the offensive side. This is a great team accomplishment."
The Patriots would end the game in five innings after scoring five in the fifth with Stevens blasting a shot to center field to score three runs and cap the night at 9-0 after Vanessa Carrizales hit a two-run single that deflected off the Tornado pitcher and brought in Kaylee Prather and Bianca Van Vlerah. Prather, who was celebrating a birthday, is now hitting .442 which is second on the team only behind Raven Rodriguez who would deliver another great game by going 2-for-4 with her ninth home run of the season to lead off the third inning and give the Patriots a 2-0 lead. Jackie Mendez added to the lead with her third homer of the season in the third and the Patriots had a comfortable lead at 4-0 going to the fourth where Batten would surrender her only two hits of the game. Van Vlerah was 2-for-2 on the night in the nine-hole, including a two-out single to center field in the second inning for the game's first run.
Rodriguez is now leading the Patriots with a .462 average with nine home runs and 25 RBI. Her nine home runs are a career high with her hitting six as a freshman and junior and five in her sophomore season to account for her 26 homers which is fourth in program history. Stevens has now hit homers in back-to-back games and has seven this season and 17 in her career.
A senior from Huntington, Batten earned her first career win with a one-hit shutout victory over UMHB on Feb. 16, 2013 as a freshman with her sister Brittney Batten at catcher. Batten would allow a leadoff double to start the game before not allowing another hit throughout the 8-0 win by the Patriots that went only five innings. Batten would go on to post a 25-3 record and earn NFCA All-America honors as a freshman and then continue racking up wins with a 28-5 record as a sophomore and a 29-5 record last season as a junior.
Monica Abbott won 189 games for the Tennessee Volunteers from 2004-07 for the most career wins across all three NCAA divisions. The NCAA DIII record is 124 by Hayley Feindel (Coast Guard).
UT Tyler and Concordia will return to action with a noon doubleheader on Saturday at Suddenlink Field.
ADDITIONAL QUOTES (by Patrick Cunningham)
Coach Mike Reed on Kelsie Batten: "It's been a real honor. She is as good a person as she is a pitcher. She has been someone that works hard every day. She has been constantly great since she got here and you always know what you will get when she pitches. She loves her team and this school and will be in the record books forever when she is done."
KK Stevens on Kelsie Batten: "As a catcher you get really blessed to catch for some of the great ones and Kelsie is definitely one of them, so it's an awesome opportunity. She just does a great job every day."