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Aileen Garcia sliced a pitch between first and second base to drive in Arlington Martin’s Krista Rude for the walk-off RBI single, sending UTA past Iowa State, 4-3 on Sunday in the National Invitational Softball Championship in Colorado.
It’s the first in program history.
Garcia, who graduated from Pearland, was voted tourney MVP.
Laura Curry, Melanie Mendoza and Randi Phillips were named to the all-tournament team.
Iowa State (37-25) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the opening inning. Sami Williams and Taylor Nearad led off with back-to-back singles. Williams scored on an RBI ground out and Nearad crossed the plate on a Sally Woolpert single to right.
UTA (36-27) got one run back in the bottom half of the inning on Garcia’s single that drove in Whitney Walton.
The Mavericks took a 3-2 lead in the fourth. Bri Burchianti reached base on an error and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, and to third on a passed ball. She scored on a throwing error to second base.
Walton, who walked three batters in, stole second and scored on an RBI bunt single from Curry.
The Cyclones tied it at 3 with an unearned run in the fifth.
UTA’s Allie Gardiner earned the victory after 2 2/3 innings in relief. She allowed one hit and struck out two batters. Phillips started for the Mavericks and allowed two earned runs on three hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Garcia’s walk-off RBI also tied the program single-season record of 53 with Mansfield Legacy’s Reagan Wright.
Wright, who holds the single-season and career home run record at UTA, finished the season with a .293 batting average, 56 hits, 11 doubles, five home runs and 38 RBIs.
Timber Creek’s Avery Grimes finished the UTA season with a .327 average and 18 hits in 27 games. Rude batted .380 with 68 hits, 47 runs and 20 stolen bases in her final season with the Mavericks.