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@UTTylerBaseball picked to repeat as ASC champions

Wednesday, January 17, 2018
by Wes Bloomquist | wbloomquist@uttyler.edu

TYLER – New baseball season. Same championship expectations.

The No. 16-ranked UT Tyler baseball team has been picked to win the American Southwest Conference for the fourth straight season and for the seventh time in program history after receiving 21 of 26 first-place votes in the preseason poll from league head coaches and media members. In addition, senior pitcher Ryan Cheatham and first baseman Alex Bishop have been selected as ASC Players to Watch.

UT Dallas, which is ranked No. 7 by Collegiate Baseball, received five first-place votes and is picked second in the poll followed by Concordia, East Texas Baptist, Mary Hardin-Baylor, Hardin-Simmons, Belhaven, Sul Ross, Louisiana College, McMurry, Howard Payne, Ozarks and LeTourneau.

UT Tyler is coming off a 39-9 overall record in head coach Brent Porche’s first season where the Patriots went 21-3 in ASC play to win the regular-season title before rolling to their third straight and fourth in five years tournament title. UT Tyler, which starts preseason practice on Jan. 23 and its season on Feb. 8, advanced to their seventh regional tournament and matched the all-time wins record of 39 that was also achieved in the 2009 season.

In 2018, the Patriots will be tasked with replacing All-American Daniel Williams and all-conference players in Cody Brown, Trenton Buchhorn, Reese Read, Cason Adams, Kyle Broussard, Gunnar Quick and Tim Hunter who were lost due to graduation but return Ryan Cheatham, Alex Bishop, Graham Welch and Blake Wilson who return after all-conference seasons.

“We have a very challenging schedule within the ASC and out of conference,” Porche said. “Our team is very talented and deep, but we have many unproven guys that will play big roles. I’m looking forward to watching this new, but extremely talented team grow and mature throughout the journey of this season.”

Cheatham is entering his second season at UT Tyler where he went 9-0 as a junior with a 3.33 ERA. A right-hander from Whitehouse, Cheatham recorded 52 strikeouts and limited opponents to a .214 batting average in 14 starts and 15 appearances. He would throw 81 innings in an unblemished season where he was named to the D3Baseball All-West Region team along with earning second-team all-conference.

“Cheatham gives us a chance every time he is on the mound,” said Porche, who enters 2018 with 186 career wins. “He had a good season last year, but I know he expects and is capable of being more dominating. He has worked hard in the offseason to put himself in a position to do just that in his senior season.”

A left-handed hitter from Canada, Bishop enters his final season in Tyler with 134 hits and 90 RBI for the Patriots. He is a career .347 hitter with 12 home runs, 31 doubles and four triples. He had 22 doubles as a sophomore to set the single-season program record and is coming off a junior season where he hit .339 with 25 RBI in 33 games played.

“Bishop will be the anchor of our offense,” Porche said. “We have to make sure we do a good job of doing the things around him that force people to pitch to him. He has gone from an unbelievable sophomore season to being pitched around as a junior and learning how to handle that. He has evolved as a hitter through that experience and I believe he is more prepared for that role in his senior season.”

UT Tyler is scheduled to host 21 games this season starting with a three-game series against La Verne from Feb. 8-10 at Irwin Field before hosting the Clements Fluids Classic with games against Whitworth, Trinity and Centenary to complete a six-game home stand to start the year. The Patriots were 19-2 on their home field last season. In ASC play, the Patriots will host series against East Texas Baptist, UT Dallas and Louisiana College with road series at Hardin-Simmons, McMurry, Mary Hardin-Baylor and LeTourneau.

The Patriots enter the season ranked No. 16 by D3Baseball.com and No. 19 by Collegiate Baseball. The Perfect Game rankings have not been released.

2018 ASC Baseball Preseason Poll

Rank Team (1st place votes) Pts. 2017 Record (ASC)
1. UT Tyler (21) 331 39-9 (21-3)
2. UT Dallas (5) 304 33-11 (19-5)
3. Concordia Texas 285 31-18 (16-8)
4. East Texas Baptist 257 30-15 (18-6)
5. Mary Hardin-Baylor 217 22-18 (16-8)
6. Hardin-Simmons 207 20-23 (11-13)
7. Belhaven # 153 26-14 (14-10)
8. Sul Ross State 132 14-26 (7-17)
9. Louisiana College 131 20-22 (9-15)
  McMurry % 131 13-27 (7-17)
11. Howard Payne 114 18-22 (10-14)
12. Ozarks 61 12-26 (6-17)
13.  LeTourneau 59  9-28 (1-22)

# Ineligible for 2018 ASC Championship/NCAA Championship (Div. III Provisional)
% Ineligible for 2018 ASC Championship/NCAA Championship (Div. III Reclassifying)

2018 ASC Baseball Preseason Players to Watch
Players selected by their respective head coach

Position Players

Name Cl. Pos. School
Will Costinett Sr. IF Belhaven
Michael Evan * Sr. OF Concordia Texas
Zach Gartner * Jr. OF East Texas Baptist
Taylor Cooling * Sr. SS Hardin-Simmons
David Groves * Jr. 3B Howard Payne
Gonzalo Sosa * Sr. 1B LeTourneau
Sully Martin * Sr. OF Louisiana College
Max Conway Sr. C Mary Hardin-Baylor
Tyler Jenkins * Sr. 1B McMurry
Chase Edwards * So. 1B/DH Ozarks
Barry Casey * Sr. 1B UT Dallas
Alex Bishop Sr. 1B UT Tyler
       

Pitchers

Name Cl. Pos. School
Austin Douglas Sr. RHP Belhaven
Justin Traxler * Sr. RHP Concordia Texas
Blake Corbin So. RHP East Texas Baptist
Chandler Carter Sr. RHP Hardin-Simmons
Seth Owen Jr. RHP Howard Payne
Andrew Harlan Jr. RHP LeTourneau
Jacob Buchanan Sr. LHP Louisiana College
Casey Frazier * Sr. RHP Mary Hardin-Baylor
Jack Poe So. RHP McMurry
Gyeongju Kim So. RHP Ozarks
Cody Remore * Sr. RHP Sul Ross State
Jamie Andriot * Sr. RHP UT Dallas
Ryan Cheatham Sr. RHP UT Tyler

*2017 All-Conference

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