AUSTIN — The UT Tyler Patriots entered the American Southwest Conference baseball tournament by hitting, pitching and fielding at the top of their game.
However, the No. 20 Patriots were deficient in all three phases in a 9-0 loss to 16th-ranked Concordia Texas on Friday night at Tornado Field on the first day of the ASC tournament’s championship round.
The loss forces UT Tyler (33-11) into the loser’s bracket, which will require the Patriots to win four games over the next two days to win their third conference championship. UT Tyler faces McMurry (21-23) at 1 p.m. today in an elimination game.
If the Patriots win, they’ll get the loser of the matchup between Concordia (34-9) and Mississippi College (21-22) at 7 p.m. tonight.
“We’ve won doubleheaders numerous times this year and that’s what we’ll try to do (today),” UT Tyler coach Paul Wyczawski said. “If we get through that, we’ll try to do the same thing the next day. We’ve got enough pitching left to play with anybody.”
Concordia left-hander Scott Hays (7-3) pitched eight shutout innings, scattering eight hits with six strikeouts and three walks. The transfer from the University of Alabama induced four double plays on the night.
“He made pitches when he needed to,” Wyczawski said of Hays, who struck out five through the first two innings. “We had a chance (in the top of the fourth) with the bases loaded to maybe get some runs to get back in the game.”
But with UT Tyler trailing 2-0, T.J. Martin hit a sharp grounder to first baseman Kyle Rodriguez, who threw home to begin a 3-2-3 double play. Hays got the next batter to fly out to the center, ending the inning.
Concordia broke the game open in the bottom half of the inning by scoring six runs, helped along by a couple of errors and a crucial catcher’s interference call that wiped out a potential inning-ending out.
The errors led to the first run of the inning before UT Tyler starter Jack Barkley (10-1) got the next two batters, leaving runners at second and third.
Matt McManemin followed with what appeared to be a line-drive out to Martin at third base, but the home plate umpire ruled catcher Hayden Chick interfered with the swing, allowing McManemin to reach first.
The Tornadoes took advantage, scoring on a passed ball, a two-run single by Quinn Guest and a two-RBI double from Colton Gommert.
“When we play a clean game – and that’s not walk guys, not hit guys, not have catcher’s interferences, not play errorless baseball – you have a chance to win,” Wyczawski said. “And when you don’t, it really makes it tough.”
Barkley suffered his first loss of the season, allowing eight runs (three earned) on four hits in 3 2-3 innings. UT Tyler used just one other pitcher, Konrad Koening, who allowed just a run in 4 1-3 innings.
“It was kind one of those games where it was a perfect storm,” Wyczawski said. “We play extremely well, and tonight we did not.”
American Southwest Conference Baseball Tournament
No. 16 Concordia Texas 9, No. 20 UT Tyler 0
At Tornado Field, Austin
UT Tyler 000 000 000 – 0 8 2
Concordia 200 601 00x – 9 8 1
Jack Barkley, Konrad Koenig (4) and Hayden Chick; Scott Hays, Sean Thompson (9) and Collin Janssen. W – Hays (7-3). L – Barkley (10-1). 2B – UTT: Issac Tijerina, T.J. Martin. CTX: Colton Gommert. SH – CTX: Matt McManemin, Andrew Burns. SF – CTX: Quinn Guest. SB – CTX: McManemin, Heath Padgett.
RECORDS – UT Tyler 33-11; Concordia Texas 34-9.
NEXT UP – UT Tyler vs. McMurry, 1 p.m. today; Concordia Texas vs. Mississippi College, 4 p.m. today.
ATT. – 500.