The UT Tyler baseball team has now defeated the 2016 Division III national champion twice in its first four games of the 2017 season.
Just a week after opening their season with a win over No. 11 Trinity in Jackson, Mississippi, the No. 18 Patriots defeated the Tigers again, 5-2, on Friday in the opening game of the Clements Fluids Classic at Irwin Field.
Daniel Williams hit a three-run double in the bottom of the third that proved to be the difference in the game as the Patriots improved to 3-1 this season.
"That guy, he started struggling to hit the strike zone a little bit," first-year UT Tyler head coach Brent Porche said.
"We did a good job of letting him put himself in that situation and then we come up with a big hit and that was the difference in the ball game."
The game was scoreless until the bottom of the third when four of the first five UT Tyler batters walked.
The fourth drove in the first run of the game to give the Patriots a 1-0 lead before Williams, who went 7 for 13 in Mississippi last weekend, came up with the biggest hit of the game, the three-run double.
Williams' double dropped just inside the first-base line and rolled all the way to the right-field corner. By the time the Tigers got the ball to the plate, Williams was on third base.
"Danny did a good job on a breaking ball, staying on the baseball and just barely got that one fair," Porche said. "Kudos to our guys for taking care of that situation, for being patient to put us in that situation and then Danny to come up with a big hit."
The Tigers cut the Patriots' lead to 4-2 with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth, but the Patriots got one of those back in the bottom of the inning when Blake Wilson scored on a fielder's choice by Gunnar Quick.
Wilson and Williams led the Patriots with two hits each.
Four UT Tyler pitchers combined for the victory. Cody Brown started and pitched into the sixth. He earned the win to improve to 1-1. Miles Thomas finished the sixth and pitched the seventh. Max Page tossed a scoreless eighth and Reese Reed, despite allowing the Tigers to load the bases, didn't give up a run in the ninth to earn his second save of the season.
"I thought we pitched extremely well again tonight," Porche said. "We played great defense. Overall, if we are playing defense and pitching the way we have been and the way that we did again tonight, we feel good about our chance to win every ballgame."
The Patriots will continue play in the Clements Fluids Classic at 6 p.m. Saturday against American Southwest Conference rival Mary Hardin-Baylor at 6 p.m. at Irwin Field.
No. 18 UT Tyler 5, No. 11 Trinity 2
Trinity 000 020 000 – 2 7 1
UT Tyler 004 010 00x – 5 4 1
Andrew Hoffman, Mark Tindall (3) and Parker Cormack. Cody Brown, Miles Thomas (6), Max Page (8), Reese Read (9) and Brady McCoy. WP – Brown (2-1). LP – Hoffman (0-1). S – Read (2). 2B – Trinity: Michael Davis. UT Tyler: Daniel Williams.
RECORDS – Trinity is 2-4. UT Tyler is 3-1.
NEXT UP – Trinity at LeTourneau, 2 p.m. Saturday. UT Tyler vs. Mary Hardin-Baylor, 6 p.m. Saturday.