UT Tyler selected to repeat as ASC Champions

Wednesday, January 20, 2016
by Wes Bloomquist || wbloomquist@uttyler.edu

TYLER – The No. 22-ranked University of Texas at Tyler baseball team has been picked to repeat as American Southwest Conference champions a year after the Patriots went 34-12 and won the regular-season and tournament titles. Additionally, Sam Lane and Chad Hayes were identified on the ASC Preseason Players/Pitchers to Watch lists that were released on Wednesday.

The Patriots, who also advanced to their fifth NCAA Division III tournament after beating Texas-Dallas in the ASC Championship final, enter the 2016 season having won seven conference titles and with the goal of adding another this season. UT Tyler, which is also ranked No. 22 in the d3baseball.com preseason poll, received 18 of 27 first-place votes and finished with 287 points in the preseason poll which was voted on by conference head coaches, sports information directors and selected media members. Concordia is second in the poll with 270 points, including seven first-place votes. Texas-Dallas received two first-place votes and had 250 points for third in the preseason poll, followed by Mary Hardin-Baylor (194) and LeTourneau (173) to round out the top-5 of the 11-team poll.

“It is exciting for our program because it is in-line with everything we try to do here,” UT Tyler head coach Chris Bertrand said. “We want to be elite in everything that we do and we are competitive people. We want to be at the top of everything. The challenge is balancing it and going out and proving that you deserve to be up there. We are not going to be given anything and we know that there is going to be a target on our back. Now is the time as a team and as a family that we go prove ourselves throughout the course of the season.”

The Patriot pitching staff returns a strong group, led by Hayes who earned ABCA/Rawlings All-Region and ASC honors last year as the team’s closer with 13 saves and 24 strikeouts in 22 appearances. Cason Adams and Cade Suggs return with the most experience as starters, with Adams returning from an 8-3 season with 61 strikeouts and a 3.23 ERA in 12 starts and 78.0 innings of work. Suggs made 11 starts and went 3-2 with 23 strikeouts in 55.1 innings for the Patriots.

Lane made his way onto the ASC Preseason Players to Watch list after hitting .345 with six triples, 11 doubles and 35 RBI last season as a junior. Lane, who ended last season on an eight-game hitting streak, is the all-time program leader with 12 triples in his career and was an ASC first-team selection last season. Along with Lane, Blake Bonnin started all 46 games in the field and returns from a sophomore season where he hit .327 and was second on the team with 38 RBI. Bonnin earned All-ASC first-team honors after compiling 14 multi-hit and 10 multi-RBI performances last season.

“The biggest two things about this year’s team is that we have great team chemistry where everyone is pulling together for the same mission and also we are a well-balanced ball club,” Bertrand said. “We fell that we have a lot of strength in all three phases of the game and strong players with skills and tools. In the past we have been one dimensional where you could pick and chose what we’re good at, but this year we are more balanced and will be tough on offense, defense and on the mound.”

UT Tyler opens spring practices on Monday in preparation for the 2016 season which begins with a three-game set against Dallas on Feb. 6-7 at Irwin Field. The season starts with a 3 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 6 before a single game at 2 p.m. on Sunday. The Patriots begin the season on a nine-game home stand against non-conference opponents and will also open ASC play at home with a three-game set against UMHB from Feb. 26-27 at Irwin Field where they owned a 19-1 record last season.

2016 ASC Baseball Preseason Poll

Rank Team (1st place votes) Points 2015 Record
1. Texas-Tyler 287 (18) 24-6 / 34-12
2. Concordia Texas 270 (7) 23-6 / 31-12
3. Texas Dallas 250 (2) 19-8 / 29-17
4. Mary Hardin-Baylor 194 16-14 / 19-22
5. LeTourneau 173 15-11 / 18-17
6. East Texas Baptist 135 10-17 / 21-22
7. Hardin-Simmons 132 9-17 / 13-26
8. Sul Ross State 129 15-15 / 19-21
9. Howard Payne 97 10-19 / 16-25
10. Louisiana College 72 10-20 / 14-24
11. Ozarks 37 5-23 / 10-29
  Belhaven #   33-24
  McMurry %   31-13

# Ineligible for 2016 ASC Championship/NCAA Tournament (NCAA Div. III Reclassifying/Provisional Member)
% Ineligible for 2016 ASC Championship/NCAA Tournament (NCAA Div. III Reclassifying)
 
2015 ASC Baseball Preseason Players to Watch
Players selected by their respective head coach
 
Position Players

Name Cl. Pos. School
Terrell Hodges Jr. OF Belhaven
Connor Bertsch* Jr. 1B Concordia Texas
Dynas Doud* Sr. INF East Texas Baptist
Cody Berryman* So. OF Hardin-Simmons
Matt Daniel Sr. C Howard Payne
Dillon Yates Sr. C LeTourneau
Sully Martin So. OF Louisiana College
Dakota Parsons* Jr. SS Mary Hardin-Baylor
Patrick Adams Jr. 2B McMurry
Andrew Beck* Jr. OF Ozarks
Kit Henderson* Jr. OF Sul Ross State
Brandon George* Sr. 3B Texas Dallas
Sam Lane* Sr. OF Texas-Tyler

 
Pitchers

Name Cl. Pos. School
Tanner Cable Sr. RHP Belhaven
Justin Traxler* So. RHP Concordia Texas
Ashley Dukes Jr. RHP East Texas Baptist
Colton Spears Sr. RHP Hardin-Simmons
Kyle Ramon Jr. RHP Howard Payne
Jordan Carns Jr. RHP LeTourneau
Bo Ockman Jr. RHP Louisiana College
Aaron Barteau* Sr. RHP Mary Hardin-Baylor
John Eric Cortez Jr. RHP McMurry
Keaton Ramsey Jr. RHP Ozarks
Eli Gallego* Jr. RHP Sul Ross State
Aaron Bach Sr. RHP Texas Dallas
Chad Hayes* Jr. RHP Texas-Tyler

*2015 All-Conference