Jack Barkley followed his worst start of the season with perhaps his best on Friday night at Irwin Field.
The sophomore Athens native had a shutout working into the eighth inning to lead the No. 23 Patriots past Ozarks, 12-2, in the opener of their three-game series.
“That’s the way Jack’s pitched all year, other than last week,” UT Tyler coach Paul Wyczawski said. “We expected him to go out and have a great outing. He hit spots, changed speeds and really attacked the strike zone. He did a great job on the mound.”
Barkley (7-0) won for the seventh time in eight starts. His only no-decision of the year occurred last week at East Texas Baptist, where he allowed seven runs and 11 hits in just 2 1-3 innings.
It was an altogether different story on Friday for Barkley, who surrendered just one run and five hits in eight innings — his longest outing of the season. He struck out three, walked two and at one point retired 11 consecutive batters.
“The biggest difference to me was with my misses; I had better misses,” Barkley said. “I’d miss out or miss down rather than in the middle of the strike zone. I think my first-pitch strike ratio was like 24 strikes to five balls, so it helps when you’re working ahead.”
Offensively, the Patriots (19-7, 6-4 in American Southwest Conference) outhit Ozarks (9-16, 1-6) 19-7.
Junior second baseman Will Allen, a former Arp High School and Tyler Junior College standout, led the way by going 4 for 6 with two doubles and three RBIs.
“I thought we had some guys that swung the bat pretty well tonight,” Wyczawski said. “Two-out base hits will do a lot of damage and we didn’t get some of those early in the game. Later in the game, we started stringing a few hits together.”
Hayden Chick was 3 for 5 with a pair of doubles, an RBI and two runs scored. Jake Ashley and Aaron McCain each had two hits and two RBIs for UT Tyler, which eclipsed double figures in runs scored for the 10th time this season, providing more than enough support for Barkley.
“Putting up double-digit runs is not a big deal (for us),” Barkley said.
Jeffrey Works (2-3) suffered the loss, surrendering six runs on 11 hits in 5 1-3 innings. He walked four and struck out one.
Works walked two and hit two batters in the UT Tyler’s two-run first inning. Allen singled in a run, and T.J. Martin drew a bases-loaded walk in the inning — one of four walks on the night for Martin.
Ashley’s RBI single in the fifth pushed the Patriots’ lead to 3-0 in the fifth, before UT Tyler began to pull away with three runs in the sixth. Allen’s RBI double, Billy Lirely’s run-scoring single and Ashley’s sacrifice fly extend the lead to 6-0.
Allen doubled home another run in the seventh, followed by a five-run outburst in the eighth inning. Doubles by David Ring, McCain and Chick and a single from pinch-hitter Josh Bates pushed the Patriots’ lead to 12-1.
UT Tyler and Ozarks conclude their series with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. today.
“I think you back out there and do the same thing,” Wyczawski said. “If we can get into the bullpen … we’ve got a shot. They’ve split (on Saturday) I think in each of the last three weeks, so I know they’re going to be competitive (Saturday). We’ve just got to come out and play well.”
No. 23 UT Tyler 12, Ozarks 2
At Irwin Field
Ozarks 000 000 011 — 2 7 1
UT Tyler 200 013 15x — 12 19 2
Jeffrey Works, Jeremy Jones (6), Robert Smith (7), Jacob Nall (8), Zac Mitchell (8), Drew Clark (8) and Chris Young; Jack Barkley, Parker Sheets (9) and Hayden Chick, Zane Harber (9).
W – Barkley (7-0). L – Works (2-3).
2B – UTT: Aaron McCain, Hayden Chick (2), Will Allen (2), David Ring.
SH – O: Mitchell Powers, Tony Morales. UTT: Garrett Machacek, Billy Lirely. SF – O: Young. SB – UTT: Machacek.
RECORDS — Ozarks 9-16 (1-6); UT Tyler 19-7 (6-4).
NEXT UP — Ozarks at UT Tyler (DH), 1 p.m. today.
ATT. — 504.