PREVIEW: @UTTylerBaseball, ETBU to play Thursday/Friday series
#4 UT Tyler (32-5, 20-2 ASC)
East Texas Baptist (26-12, 17-5 ASC)
4/27/2017 | Marshall, TX | Attendance: 232
UT Tyler21001100027131
East Texas Baptist0000120110572
Win: Reese Read (3-1) 2.101014
Loss: G.Penny (5-1) 4.052203
Alex Bishop (UTTBB) 513200
B.Winter (ETBU) 402100

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
by Wes Bloomquist ||

TYLER – The No. 3-ranked UT Tyler baseball team’s final regular-season series will start a day early with the Patriots now set to take on East Texas Baptist at 7 p.m. on Thursday and then a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Friday in a three-game American Southwest Conference series at Woods Field with heavy rain expected throughout the weekend.

The Patriots (31-5, 19-2 ASC) are atop the ASC standings and would clinch the regular-season championship with one win. The Tigers (26-11, 17-4 ASC) will need to sweep UT Tyler to win the title on their home field where they are 15-6 at this season. Both teams enter the series on five-game winning streaks with the Patriots coming off a dominant sweep of McMurry last weekend and ETBU going on the road to sweep Howard Payne and remain in contention for the ASC title.

UT Tyler has already reached the 30-win milestone for the 11th time in 14 years since the program was started in 2004. The Patriots enter the final weekend of play leading the ASC in walks (183), double plays (39), ERA (3.11), fielding percentage (.974), sacrifice flies (22), strikeouts per nine innings (7.6) and is second in batting average (.321), on-base percentage (.428) and shutouts (4). The team has outscored opponents by a 250-120 margin through 36 games.

Daniel Williams leads the Patriots and the ASC with a .428 batting average that includes 11 doubles, six home runs and 45 singles. A senior from Katy, Williams is fourth in the conference with 40 RBI and 12th nationally with those 62 hits which is approaching UT Tyler single-season records with Austin Newell (2010) and Aaron McCain (2012) tied for ninth with 69 hits and Clay Baker owning the program’s record at 79 hits in the 2008 season. Trenton Buchhorn is second on the team with a .424 batting average and 28 RBI, while Ben Romines is hitting .396 with five doubles, five triples, a home run and 29 singles. Romines had three triples for the Patriots in the three-game sweep of McMurry last weekend and has produced 19 RBI in his junior season. He is second in the ASC and 32nd nationally with a .523 on-base percentage.

Tim Hunter leads the nation with 48 walks after walking seven more times in the McMurry series, including walking four times in the series opener. It was his third time walking four times in a game and matched the single-game record along with Kyle Broussard who also walked four times in that game. Justin Meekins (Salisbury) and Drew Schacht (Centre) are tied for second nationally with 37 walks. Hunter is second on the team with 34 runs scored and has a .470 on-base percentage from the leadoff spot, while Gunnar Quick is now hitting .293 and leads the Patriots with 37 runs scored. Quick earned ASC Hitter of the Week on Tuesday after going 9-for-14 with seven RBI for the Patriots in the sweep of McMurry. Quick hit his second home run of the season and now has 11 doubles. Broussard was 2-for-3 in the series with six walks and comes into the series at ETBU with a .326 average and 11 RBI for the Patriots.

Ryan Cheatham (8-0) leads the ASC in wins and is eighth nationally and is scheduled to start on Thursday night. A Whitehouse native, Cheatham owns a 2.59 ERA with 41 strikeouts through 62 2/3 innings of work for the Patriots. Cody Brown (6-2) is coming off his second 11-strikeouts performance of the season and will start the 1 p.m. game on Friday. He leads the Patriots with 61 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings and is second in the ASC and 42nd nationally in the category. Cason Adams (7-0) struck out eight in a win over McMurry last Saturday and now has 49 strikeouts in 56 2/3 innings of work in his senior season. A senior from Rockwall, Adams is 23-9 in his career at UT Tyler with 193 career strikeouts. Reese Read (2-1) is fifth nationally with eight saves and has 18 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings, while Hunter Palmer (1-1) has 22 strikeouts and a 2.42 ERA in a team-leading 18 appearances.

The UT Tyler pitching staff owns a 3.11 ERA and has limited opponents to a .234 batting average. The Patriots have recorded 259 strikeouts and walked only 129 in 306 1/3 innings coming into this weekend at ETBU.

Connor Combs leads the Tigers with a .406 batting average which includes eight home runs, two triples, 12 doubles and has produced 39 RBI. Zach Gartner is second in the ASC with 45 RBI for ETBU and is hitting .368 with 10 home runs. The Tigers are hitting .314 as a team with 68 doubles, 13 triples and a conference-leading 42 home runs.