PREVIEW: No. 12 Patriots set for 3-game series at Belhaven
#13 Texas-Tyler (19-8, 9-4 ASC)
Belhaven (16-11, 6-7 ASC)
4/8/2016 | Jackson, Miss. | Attendance: 206
Win: Cason Adams (4-1) 7.174422
Loss: Z. Osha (1-3) 7.0115538
Graham Welch (UTT) 513200
A. Kowalczyk (BU) 322110
Eschberger (BU) 402000

Thursday, April 7, 2016
by Wes Bloomquist ||

TYLER – The No. 12-ranked UT Tyler baseball team returns from a week off with a three-game series against Belhaven on Friday and Saturday at Smith Wills Stadium in Jackson, Mississippi.

The Patriots (18-8, 8-4 ASC) are coming off a pair of wins over LeTourneau to win two of three from LeTourneau in their previous series and have risen to No. 12 in the Collegiate Baseball Division III Poll and are at No. 13 in UT Tyler is 5-4 on the road this season, while the Blazers enter this weekend with a 16-10 overall record and a 6-6 ASC mark after winning two of three at Hardin-Simmons last weekend.

UT Tyler and Belhaven will begin the series with a 4 p.m. game on Friday followed by a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The probable starting rotation for the Patriots is Cason Adams (3-1), Nate Imig (4-0) and Chad Hayes (2-0). Adams and Imig have each earned ASC Pitcher of the Week honors over the past month, while Hayes will make the first start of his collegiate career in the series finale at Belhaven. A closer last year with 13 saves, Hayes has 17 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings of work this season, while Imig has recorded 22 strikeouts in eight appearances and 20 2/3 innings. Imig has also moved out from the bullpen into a starter’s role and will be making his third start in Saturday’s seven-inning game. Adams will be making his ninth start of the season and comes in with 34 strikeouts and a 3.88 ERA in 46 1/3 innings.

The Patriots enter the weekend with a .298 team batting average with Alex Bishop leading the team with a .424 average and 39 total hits, while Trenton Buchhorn is hitting .358 with 38 hits and a team and ASC-leading 34 RBI. The UT Tyler left-handed hitters have combined to score 55 runs and are tied with 12 multi-hit games and nine multi-RBI performances this season. Bishop is ninth in the nation and first in the ASC with 13 doubles, while Buchhorn has 11 doubles which is the third most in the conference and the 32nd most in the nation and his RBI total is 11th nationally. Senior center fielder Sam Lane enters this weekend on a 10-game hitting streak and is up to a .330 batting average and has matched Buchhorn and Bishop with 12 multi-hit games. A stellar center field, Lane was featured on ESPN’s #SCtop10 for a diving catch on Super Bowl Sunday and has six doubles, two triples and a home run this season.

Graham Welch is currently second in the nation with six triples to start his freshman season, while Buchhorn is sixth nationally with five triples. Welch has been playing in right field and leading off for the Patriots this season and is at .305 with eight doubles to go along with his six triples. Dalton Smith has added 15 RBI, while Braxton Hollenshead and Kelly Dorsett each have 12 RBI. UT Tyler currently leads the ASC with 16 triples as a team and with a .692 winning percentage.

UT Tyler will play at Southwestern next Tuesday before returning home to play Ozarks in a three-game series at Irwin Field. The April 15-16 weekend will honor Bob and Mary Irwin on Saturday, April 16 as part of a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the dedication of Irwin Baseball Field.

Irwin Field, which was made possible through a $1.2 million donation by Bob and Mary Irwin, was ceremonially dedicated on April 1, 2006 and has since become one of the best home fields in the nation. The Irwins will be celebrated before the first game of a doubleheader against Ozarks.

“Bob & Mary Irwin are dear friends of UT Tyler,” said VP for Student Affairs Howard Patterson. “As a former baseball player, Bob knew the value of a first class facility for recruiting and retention and he and Mary’s donation made the UT Tyler Irwin Ballpark a reality ten years ago.  We are very fortunate to have one of the premier baseball and softball complexes in the nation, thanks to the generosity of Bob & Mary Irwin.”

The ceremony will include a video presentation on the new video board in right field along and there will also be an Alumni Weekend celebration between games of the doubleheader. Those players returning have a pristine field and ball park to come home to thanks to the generosity of Bob and Mary Irwin. After the Patriots played their inaugural season in 2004 at Faulkner Park, the program was blessed to have Irwin Field constructed for the start of the 2005 season. Since moving on campus the Patriots are 231-48 on the field made possible by the Irwins.

“Patriots Baseball is gracious for, and extremely proud of, Irwin Field, and all that it represents for our program,” UT Tyler head coach Chris Bertrand said. “Because of its beauty and caliber, we are reminded on a daily basis of just how fortunate we are, and we are well aware that the generosity and contributions of Bob & Mary Irwin made it all possible for us to enjoy. Patriots Baseball is built on a solid foundation that we try to build on each day, and Mr. & Mrs. Irwin are the reason that the foundation is so strong.”

For information on Alumni Weekend please contact Danny Elzner at