The UT Tyler Patriots took advantage of two crucial errors in the fifth inning to defeat Concordia-Texas 7-4 in the opening round of the American Southwest Conference Championship at Irwin Field.
Leading 1-0 in the fifth inning, Derrick Smith received a four-pitch walk and when Sam Lane was sacrificing, pitcher Ryan Ullmann fielded the bunt and proceeded to throw the ball into the ground and both Patriot runners were safe.
After two outs, Kevan House hit a ground ball to second base and Brandon Hollier misplayed the ball and the Patriots had the bases loaded with two outs. T.J. Martin was up next and reached base with a walk to score Smith for a 2-0 lead.
The inning was not over, as Billy Lirely hit a ball into left center and, unfortunately for center fielder Brent Schaekel, could not find it in the twilight sky and all three UT Tyler baserunners scored for a 5-0 advantage after five innings.
Concordia bounced back from misfortune of the previous inning, as Schaekel and Quinn Guest singled to start the inning and Chance Leissner singled to left on the first pitch he saw to score Schaekel. Patriot starter Chance Cotton hit Andrew Burns to load the bases and the Patriots returned the favor by walking Connor Bertsch to force a run in and cut the deficit to 5-2.
Cotton induced a double play ball to score Leissner, and former Tyler Junior College product Jon McManemin’s sharp single up the middle scored Burns and the Tornados only trailed 5-4 after the top of the sixth.
After the sixth inning, UT Tyler relievers Matt Sheppard and closer Derek Miller only faced one batter over the minimum in the last three innings of the contest, while their offense added two runs in the seventh.
The Patriots then produced two runs in the bottom of the seventh thanks to aggressive base running.
Isaac Tijerina singled and stole second and Martin walked. Tijerina scored on Lirely’s ground ball to shortstop as he hustled around third base without stopping and sliding just ahead of the throw home from Concordia first baseman Bertsch and Martin advanced to third. The Patriots ended the scoring when Martin scored on Will Allen’s ground ball to the shortstop that was misplayed for a 7-4 Patriot lead.
The Patriots got on the board in the first inning as Lane singled to lead off the inning and Jeff Kosta walked, but it took a two-out hit from Martin on a full count to score Lane with the first run of the contest.
The Patriots (33-10) advance to meet Texas Lutheran (33-10) at 4 p.m. today.
TLU defeated Louisiana College 4-1 in the first game of the double-elimination tournament.
The Tornados (22-21) fall into an elimination game against Louisiana College (24-18) at 1 p.m. today.
No. 17 UT Tyler 7, Concordia-Texas 4
Concordia 000 004 000 — 4 9 4
UT Tyler 100 040 20x — 7 7 0
Ryan Ullmann, Bobby Jones (8) and Tyler Bain; Chance Cotton, Matt Sheppard (7), Derek Miller (9) and Cayden Cunniff. W- Cotton 9-3. L- Ullmann 6-4. 2B- UTT: Kosta, Lirely.
RECORDS — Concordia (22-21); UT Tyler (33-10).
NEXT UP — Concordia vs. Louisiana College, 1 p.m.; Texas Lutheran vs. UT Tyler, 4 p.m. today.