PREVIEW: @Patriot_sb, UMHB set for 3 games in Belton
UT Tyler (6-0)
Mary Hardin-Baylor (5-3)
3/1/2018 | Belton, TX | Attendance: 207
UT Tyler1402000781
Mary Hardin-Baylor0000001142
Win: Colleen Bentke (3-0) 7.041106
Loss: Darilek (2-2) 3.157311
Victoria Gonzales (UTTSB) 312401
Andrea Gonzales (UTTSB) 402000
Lynsey Mitchell (UTTSB) 302000
Bounds (UMHB-SFT) 301000
Wolfe (UMHB-SFT) 301000
Tomlinson (UMHB-SFT) 301100
Douglas (UMHB-SFT) 301000

Thursday, March 1, 2018
by Patrick Cunningham

TYLER – The No. 3-ranked UT Tyler Patriot softball team will take another road trip this week, this time to American Southwest Conference foe the Mary Hardin-Baylor for a three-game series in Belton. A 4 p.m. doubleheader on Thursday starts the series, while the finale is set for 1 p.m. on Friday. The Patriots (5-0, 3-0 ASC) were scheduled to take on Concordia last week, but the series was moved to mid-March due to bad weather and unplayable conditions on the field.

The Cru will come into the series with a 5-2 record on the season and are sitting at 2-1 in ASC play. This will be the first action on the field for them since February 16 when they took two out of three games from LeTourneau in their conference opener. The Cru have come out hot in the early part of the season starting off with a sweep in a doubleheader matchup against No. 12 ranked UT Dallas. They won the games 8-4 and 6-4, respectively in games that do not count towards the conference standings. In the regular-season series last year, UT Tyler won the series by taking the first two games in Tyler before the Cru made a late rally to stave off the sweep.  

The Patriots swept through their conference opener two weeks ago in Abilene against McMurry with an offensive explosion with 29 runs over the series after opening with a non-conference doubleheader sweep of Southwestern. It was a confidence booster for the Patriots as they have looked to fresh faces this season for another run at a conference title and national championship. The UT Tyler defense has also been a big reason for its success, allowing just seven runs in the first five games. This has come off solid starts from Patriot aces Colleen Bentke and Whitney Romero. Both have struck out 16 batters on the season and boast stellar ERAs (Bentke 0.91, Romero 1.85).

Ashley Perez was named the ASC Offensive Player of the Week after hitting .467, two home runs, three doubles and 12 runs batted in to lead the Patriots in the first week of the season. In a 15-0 win for the Patriots against McMurry, Perez was 2-for-3 and had four RBI for the second time in the week.

Another potential factor could include layoff time for both schools. Neither team has played a game in almost two weeks so it may take a while for both teams to get back into their own respective rhythms.

UT Tyler is scheduled to make its home debut at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday in the first game of the Irwin Classic. The Patriots will host Millikin in a doubleheader on that day to start an eight-game home stand that includes ASC series against Sul Ross (March 10-11) and Concordia (March 13-14).