The No. 1-ranked UT Tyler Patriots will play in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Leadoff Classic this weekend at the South Commons Complex in Columbus, Georgia, against a select group of NCAA Division III softball programs.
UT Tyler (11-2) starts with pool play on Friday against No. 10 Berry (Georgia) (13-1) at noon, followed by a 5 p.m. contest against No. 13 Illinois Wesleyan (0-0). On Saturday, the Patriots meet SUNY Oneota (New York) (5-1) at 10 a.m.
The NFCA Classic continues through Sunday where each of three brackets will play title games at 1 p.m. in the last game time of the tournament.
"The NFCA does a great job bringing some of the best teams in the country together for a great tournament," UT Tyler head coach Mike Reed said. "We look forward to this tournament for the competition and to always show our support of the NFCA."
UT Tyler could play up to six games over the tournament's duration with teams from Eastern Connecticut, No. 7 East Texas Baptist, Ithaca (New York), Trine (Indiana), No. 22 Alma (Minnesota), Lake Forest (Illinois), Methodist (North Carolina), St. Thomas (Minnesota), Birmingham-Southern (Alabama), Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (California), No. 24 Kean (New Jersey), Virginia Wesleyan, Augustana (Illinois), No. 3 Christopher Newport (Virginia), Fontbonne (Missouri), No. 23 Linfield (Oregon), No. 17 Central (Iowa), Piedmont (Georgia), No. 6 Texas Lutheran and Western Connecticut State also competing.
UT Tyler baseball moves up to No. 13 in recent rankings
The UT Tyler baseball team has moved up a spot to No. 16 in the nation in the second week of the d3baseball.com Top 25 poll as they head into a three-game series in Austin against Concordia-Texas in America Southwest Conference play.
The three-game set has been adjusted due to weather and will now be played with a 4 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday and then the finale at 2 p.m. on Sunday in Austin.
The Patriots (11-4, 3-0 ASC) are coming off a two-game road sweep of Louisiana College where the Patriots scored a total of 23 runs while only allowing the Wildcats five. Cason Adams and Michael Blevins picked up the wins, with Adams striking out six Wildcat batters and Blevins striking out five while only allowing one run through five innings.
Junior Trenton Buchhorn is leading the team with 21 hits while maintaining a .350 batting percentage. Along with those stats, he leads in RBIs with 16 and is second on the team with three triples behind Graham Welch who has four and second for doubles with five behind Alex Bishop who has nine.
Sam Lane is leading with 20 runs scored and has stolen four bases. Lane, Buchhorn and Kelly Dorsett are tied with one home run apiece through 15 games.
From the mound, Adams has pitched 28.2 innings while striking out 23. Blevins has also been impressive for the Patriots, pitching 25.2 innings and striking out 27 batters while holding opposing teams to a .208 batting average.
Rain forces schedule change for TJC baseball and softball
The rain this week has a caused a change in the Tyler Junior College baseball and softball schedules.
The Apaches' baseball series with Arkansas Baptist College scheduled to begin on Friday will now start on Saturday with a 6 p.m. single nine-inning game. A doubleheader is set for Sunday beginning at noon. The DH will have two seven-inning games.
The Apache Ladies' softball slate was changed as well.
Doubleheaders with Paris Junior College and Trinity Valley Community College have been moved to April 4 and April 20, respectively. Games will begin at 1 p.m. each day at Schwab Field on The Brook Hill School campus in Bullard.
The Apache Ladies will next play at Kilgore College on Wednesday. The first game has a 1 p.m. start. The next home game is March 19 against Angelina College.