CHAMPS!!! @UTTylerBaseball punches ticket to NCAA DIII College World Series
Photo: Austin Ratanasitee
Photo: Austin Ratanasitee
Texas-Tyler (34-17)
Rhodes (32-15)
5/21/2018 | Sauget, Ill. | Attendance: 129
Win: Nate Imig (6-0) 5.030014
Loss: Trey Sledge (7-4) 6.182201
Jared Pauley (UTTBB) 412101
Bowie Farris (UTTBB) 412000
Paul Giacomazzi (RHODES) 401000
Jacob Telli (RHODES) 201020
Will Heurtin (RHODES) 401000

Monday, May 21, 2018
by Wes Bloomquist |

SAUGET, Illinois – The UT Tyler Patriots have advanced to the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship tournament for the first time in program history after a series of improbable events that started with an at-large bid to make it and ended with scoring four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 5-4 victory over Rhodes College to win the NCAA DIII Central Regional at GCS Credit Union Ballpark.

The Patriots (33-15) won five straight elimination games, including a 2-0 win earlier in the day over the Lynx to force the 15th game of the regional and were the last team to punch their ticket to the national finals that will be played this weekend at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, Wisconsin. UT Tyler will open the tournament at 10 a.m. on Friday against Oswego State in the tournament's first game. 

“It’s an unbelievable feeling for our team right now,” UT Tyler coach Brent Porche said. “We have never stopped fighting all season and to come through the way we did is amazing. We didn’t win our conference tournament and didn’t even know if we were going to get a bid for our season to continue, but we really did believe that we were starting to play our best baseball and if we got in we would make the most of it. We had to go through it the tough way and had to battle today and got it done. It’s just unbelievable”

Jared Pauley scored the game-winning run after racing around from second base after an error by the Rhodes third baseman to cap the four-run inning that started with a Graham Welch single and Blake Maddox walk. Still with no outs, Henry Sanchez stepped up and pulled a double down the right-field line to make it 4-2 and was followed by Jared Pauley taking a walk to load the bases. Another walk to Tanner Roach brought home Sanchez and made it 4-3 before Burns turned on a pitch that the third baseman couldn’t handle to score Sanchez from third and Pauley all the way from second to send the Patriots into a dogpile celebration.

UT Tyler had made seven NCAA regional tournaments before this season but had not been able to win one and advance to the final stage until this season where they ran off elimination-game wins over No. 19 Franklin College, No. 13 Webster University and No. 1 Wisconsin-Whitewater before taking two against Rhodes College in the finals. UT Tyler senior Alex Bishop was named the NCAA Central Regional Most Outstanding Player after going 11-for-25 with two homers, three doubles and driving in nine runs during the seven Patriot games while Sanchez, Wilson and Austin Schneider were named to the all-tournament team. Sanchez led the Patriots with 12 hits during the tournament, including the ninth-inning double while Schneider earned two wins and Wilson provided seven hits and played strong defense at third base throughout.

Schneider (2-1) earned the win for the Patriots after throwing 2 1/3 innings of relief with two strikeouts and only one hit and one run allowed. A sophomore from Keller, Schneider had not recorded a win in his career until Sunday when he threw a complete game against UW-Whitewater to send the Patriots to the finals. His relief work came after Alex Masotto had given UT Tyler 4 2/3 innings with one run and one hit allowed. He would strike out two and work around four walks to keep the Patriots in the game as improbable as a 4-1 deficit going to the bottom of the ninth was.

“It you’re going to win big-time ball games in the postseason you have to have guys step up,” Porche said. “We got that this weekend. What Schneider did for our team the last two days was amazing. He’s put in work all year and this is just the start for him.”

Welch and Sanchez both led UT Tyler by going 2-for-4 in the game as the seven and nine-hole hitters in the lineup, while Pauley extended an 18-game hitting streak with a single and Roach hit his seventh double of the season. Alex Bishop, Blake Wilson and Bowie Farris each added one hit for the Patriots who finished with nine hits in the game. Farris would have his hit in the sixth inning, driving in Roach with an RBI single to left field for the first run of the game for the Patriots.

Rhodes College led 2-0 after scoring two in the second and then scoring one in the seventh and then another in the eighth on a solo home run, but the three-run would prove not to be enough against the Patriots who had been surviving and advancing all weekend.

UT Tyler forced the if-necessary game with a 2-0 win over the Lynx to start the day with Nate Imig (6-0) limiting Rhodes three hits in five innings and Chris Stodolka throwing four scoreless frames. Imig would strike out four and scatter three hits in the five-inning start before turning the ball over to Stodolka who also struck out four and held the Lynx hitless. The Patriots scored the first run of the game in the sixth inning with Pauley leading off the inning with a solo home run and then scored again on an RBI double by Maddox in the seventh. Pauley, who came into the regional tournament with one home run in his career, hit two this weekend with a solo homer to lead off the game against Webster on Sunday and then again in the sixth of the first game of the regional final. Pauley and Farris were both 2-for-4 in the game to lead the Patriots, while Roach, Burns, Welch, Maddox and Sanchez each had one hit.

“Our team advancing is not just about us,” Porche said. “It’s about everyone who has come before us. It’s about all the great players and coaches who have built this program. It’s about Coach Vilade, Coach Wyczawski and Coach Bert who established this program into what it is. I’m just glad that we were able to break through and do it for those guys. We love our alumni and everything that this program is about. We are extremely proud and ready to keep representing this program at the national tournament in a couple of days.”


C – Jacob Telli, Rhodes

1B – Alex Bishop, Texas-Tyler (MOP)

2B – Henry Sanchez, Texas-Tyler

SS – Will Huertin, Rhodes

3B – Blake Wilson, Texas-Tyler

OF – Jarrod Smith, Franklin (Ind.)

OF – Paul Giacomazzi, Rhodes

OF – Conner Wardlaw, Webster

OF – Grant Myers, Monmouth (Ill.)

DH – Cal Aldridge, Wisconsin-Whitewater

P – Austin Schneider, Texas-Tyler

P – Nick Bosma, Rhodes

P – Matt O’Sullivan, Wisconsin-Whitewater