CLINTON, Miss. — Josh Bates’ two-out, RBI single in the eighth inning lifted the No. 19 UT Tyler Patriots past Mississippi College, 13-12, Sunday in the rubber game of their American Southwest Conference opening series.
UT Tyler (14-4, 2-1) and the Choctaws (7-10, 1-2), who have finished either first or second in the ASC East Division for the past four seasons, combined for 34 hits on the afternoon. Eight hits went for extra bases.
With one out in the eighth, T.J. Martin doubled to right-center off Mississippi College reliever Luke Hargett (0-1) before David Ring was retired for the second out.
In stepped Bates, who singled Hargett’s 0-1 pitch up the middle to score Martin. Bates was thrown out attempting to advance to second on the play, ending the inning.
Derek Miller (2-0), a graduate of Robert E. Lee High School who entered the game with two outs in the seventh, worked a scoreless eighth and ninth to secure the win.
The Choctaws made some noise in the bottom of the ninth when Eric Wilkes singled with one out. However, pinch-runner Murphy Buggs was thrown out at home after Pate Shackelford’s double down the left-field line.
Following a walk, Miller got Josh Perez to ground out to shortstop, ending the game.
Aaron McCain led the Patriots, going 3 for 5 with a home run, triple and three RBIs. Bates finished 2 for 4 with three RBIs, while Martin (2 for 4) and Ring (3 for 5) each drove in two.
Brett Hightower, who began his collegiate career at UT Tyler, sparked Mississippi College with a 4-for-5 performance, which included a homer and five RBIs.
McCain’s two-run homer gave the Patriots a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but MC erupted for four runs in the bottom half of the inning, knocking UT Tyler starter Cody Jones from the game.
UT Tyler tied the game with a pair of runs in the second, before building an 11-4 lead with a seven-run third inning. Hayden Chick doubled twice, drove in and scored a run as the Patriots sent 11 men to the plate.
The Choctaws drew closer with a pair of runs in the second and four more in the fifth, and tied the game, 12-12, in the seventh on Hightower’s RBI single and Eric Wilkes’ sacrifice fly.
UT Tyler closes out its eight-game road trip Tuesday at Mary Hardin-Baylor before resuming conference play at home against UT Dallas on Friday.
No. 19 UT Tyler 13, Mississippi College 12
At Frierson Field, Clinton, Miss.
UT Tyler 227 001 010 — 13 17 2
MC 400 240 200 — 12 17 1
Cody Jones, Matt Sheppard (1), Chase Willard (5), Konrad Koenig (7), Derek Miller (7) and Hayden Chick; Matt Frye, Bo Craig (3), Zac Tucker (3), Luke Hargett (4) and Chad Wooten.
W – Miller (2-0). L – Hargett (0-1).
2B – UTT: Chick (2), Billy Lirely, T.J. Martin. MC: Pate Shackelford. 3B – UTT: Aaron McCain. HR – UTT: McCain (first inning, one on). MC: Brett Hightower (fourth, one on).
SF – UTT: Josh Bates, McCain. MC: Eric Wilkes. SB – MC: Shackelford, Josh Perez (3).
RECORDS — UT Tyler 14-4 (2-1); Mississippi College 7-10 (1-2).
NEXT UP — UT Tyler at Mary Hardin-Baylor, 3 p.m. Tuesday; Illinois Wesleyan at Mississippi College, 6 p.m. today.