Comet Softball Team Captures First ASC Title
UT Dallas Beats No. 2 UT Tyler Twice to Clinch NCAA Tournament Berth
The UT Dallas softball team completed a perfect run in the American Southwest Conference tournament to win its first conference crown.
The University of Texas at Dallas softball program claimed its first league championship last Saturday in Tyler, running the table at the American Southwest Conference tournament to qualify for its first NCAA Division III Championships.
The weekend brought an array of firsts for the program. Beyond being the first ASC crown and NCAA bid for UT Dallas (36-8), Friday’s walkoff 6-5 win and Saturday’s 7-5 conference clincher were the Comets’ first two victories over UT Tyler (39-4) in 12 seasons.
After opening with wins over Concordia Texas and East Texas Baptist on Thursday, the Comets defeated UT Tyler for the first time since 2005 on a seventh-inning walkoff home run by junior Samantha Halliburton, handing Patriots pitcher Alaina Kissinger her first loss of the season. That victory meant that UT Tyler, ranked second in the nation in the latest National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III national poll, would have to beat No. 12 UT Dallas twice to win the double-elimination conference tournament.
On Saturday, the Comets chased Kissinger in the first inning, scoring twice on their way to building a 7-1 lead after five innings. The middle of UTD’s batting order had nine of the Comets’ 12 hits, with junior shortstop Heather Gilbert going 3-for-3. Kendall Moore went 2-for-3 and homered to keep the Comets’ momentum going to lead off the second inning.
The Comets (36-8) held off a final-inning rally by the Patriots, who scored three runs and put the tying runs on base. Lauren McLeod got Lexi Ackroyd to ground out to Moore to finish off her complete-game victory, her 18th of the season,.
UT Dallas senior pitcher Lauren McLeod was named the tournament's most valuable player.
“I’m so proud of our team. They stayed together all year,” UT Dallas head coach Rich Wieligman said. “We went through some adversity in this last game, and stayed together in this last inning and finished it out.”
McLeod was named ASC Tournament MVP, while Moore, Halliburton and Jessica Vlasek made the All-Tournament team. McLeod also cited the team’s perseverance in closing out its first title.
“We stayed within ourselves. We battled, even in the seventh inning when things weren’t going well,” McLeod said.
The championship was the fifth ASC title won by a UT Dallas team in 2016-17. The Comets now await the pairings for the NCAA tournament, which will be announced at noon on Monday, May 8.
University to Host Baseball Tournament's Opening Round
The University of Texas at Dallas will host one of two four-team tournaments in the 2017 American Southwest Conference Baseball Championships beginning Friday at the UTD Baseball Complex.
The Comets (31-9), ranked sixth in the West Region of the NCAA Division III baseball rankings, finished second in the ASC regular season, two games behind UT Tyler. The double-elimination tournament will determine one of two ASC finalists. Those two teams will play for the title on May 12-13 in a best two-out-of-three format.
The ASC tournament appearance is the 14th in a row in the Comets’ 16-year program history.
Tickets: Prices are $10 for adults, $5 for students. Admission is free for UT Dallas students with a valid Comet Card.Parking: Fans attending the games are required to park in Lot U, south of the baseball complex. Live streaming: Live video and live stats coverage will be available for all the games.Social media: Follow the action on Twitter or use the hashtag #ASCbsbThe UT Dallas baseball team opens conference tournament play at 3 p.m. Friday against Howard Payne University.
Friday, May 5
Game 1: East Texas Baptist (27-13) vs. Hardin-Simmons (19-21), 11 a.m.
Game 2: UT Dallas (31-9) vs. Howard Payne (18-20), 3 p.m.
Saturday, May 6
Game 3: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 10 a.m.
Game 4: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 1 p.m.
Game 5: Loser Game 4 vs. Winner Game 3, 4 p.m.
Sunday, May 7
Game 6: Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5, 1 p.m.
Game 7: Game 6 teams (if needed), 30 minutes after Game 5
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].