It is a big weekend on the baseball diamond at UT Tyler.

Not only do the Patriots open their home schedule with a three-game series, but there will also be the dedication of the newly upgraded Bob and Mary Irwin Baseball Field Scoreboard.

It all gets under way with a single game tonight at 6 p.m. against Hardin-Simmons.

On Saturday, at 12:45 p.m. the scoreboard will be officially unveiled with the Irwins scheduled to attend. The first game of the doubleheader will start at 1 p.m.

Honored as the 2004 Patriots of the Year for their enduring contributions to the advancement of UT Tyler, the Irwins are longtime supporters of UT Tyler.

They contributed $1.2 million toward the construction of the softball and baseball fields, with the latter bearing their name, Irwin Field.

A former semi-professional baseball player, Irwin has supported UT Tyler since the 1980s.

“For decades, Bob Irwin’s charitable giving has aided countless worthwhile causes, while he quietly remained in the background. Bob’s success never overshadowed his compassion to help those in need,” Dr. Rodney Mabry, UT Tyler president, said.

Mrs. Irwin displays a contagious enthusiasm for UT Tyler, he added. She was a member of the university’s administrative staff for 10 years, serving as vice president for university advancement from 2001 to 2003.

He continued, the Irwins take pride in the many programs the university has developed to enrich the lives of students, especially the thriving NCAA Division III non-scholarship athletic program. The program is attracting top-notch student-athletes from Texas as well as several other states.

With the addition of the new scoreboard upgrades, the Irwin’s name and legacy will forever shine bright at Irwin Field, throughout the UT Tyler campus and the community of Tyler, Mabry said.

The Patriots enter the series with a 2-1 record after competing in the Dallas Christian Baseball Festival in Dallas last week. UT Tyler won over Rogers State (3-1) and Tabor College (3-0) before falling to Dallas Christian (7-2).

Following the weekend games, the Patriots will travel to Longview on Tuesday to play LeTourneau. The game has a 6 p.m. start.

PATRIOT POINTS: It will be $1 hot dog day on Saturday. …It is Double Patriot Nation points for students who are members of Patriot Nation. … This is the ninth year for UT Tyler baseball (started in 2004). The Patriots have an all-time record of 296-85 record. … The Patriots are picked to finish first in the American Southwest Conference East Division again. … First-year coach Chris Bertrand, who is the third coach in program history, will make his home debut. … The Patriot softball team, ranked No. 9 in the nation, begins its season on Saturday against Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton. The DH is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

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