UT Tyler's softball team has already clinched another American Southwest Conference East Division title and the baseball team will try to do the same this weekend.


Batter up

The UT Tyler baseball squad, ranked No. 12 nationally, needs one win this weekend in Pineville, La., to clinch the ASC East crown.

The Patriots (29-8, 12-3) take on Louisiana College (20-15, 10-5) in a three-game series. Today's game is scheduled for 6 p.m. with a doubleheader on Saturday, beginning at noon.

UT Tyler has been consistent all season, currently sporting a five-game win streak.

The Patriots have won or shared seven straight ASC East Division titles and eight overall since beginning conference play in 2004.

The Wildcats need a three-game sweep to claim their first-ever East title.

"This is what playing big time NCAA baseball is all about. A chance to win the East Division crown in the last series of the year. It will be exciting," UT Tyler coach Chris Bertand, a 2005 LC graduate, said. "It promises to be quite an atmosphere with them celebrating Senior Day and Alumni Weekend, but our guys are focused on the goals we set before the season began."

UT Tyler leads the conference in pitching, boasting a team ERA of 2.94, and is also ranked third in strikeouts with 241.

The UT Tyler offense has improved over the course of the season, now batting .290, which ranks fourth in the ASC.

Junior Kevan House ranks eighth in the ASC in batting average with a .366 average, second in doubles (12) and triples (4) and third in home runs (4). Jordan Marah ranks sixth in the conference with a 1.98 ERA to go with a 7-2 record, while Chance Cotton is 7-2 with a 1.98 ERA.

LC is also a well-balanced team, hitting .288, which ranks fifth. The team ERA is 3.32, which ranks third in the ASC.

The winner and runner-up in the East hosts a first-round playoff series April 26-27. The top seed in the East also gets to host the ASC championship tournament May 3-5. The winner of the tourney gets an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs.


Softball wins East again

The No. 2-ranked UT Tyler softball squad has already won the ASC East with four games to play.

The Patriots (34-2, 19-1) are atop the East, while East Texas Baptist (28-10, 16-6) is second, five games back. When ETBU split a DH with Louisiana College on Tuesday in Marshall, UT Tyler secured the crown.

Mike Reed, the only coach in the history of the UT Tyler softball program, has led the Patriots to three ASC East titles (including back to back) and two College World Series berths.

The Patriots want to close out the regular season on a high note as they host Ozarks (14-22, 4-16) today and Saturday. Today's DH is slated to begin at 2 p.m. with Saturday's DH starting at 1 p.m. UT Tyler has a 30-2 record against Ozarks all-time.

The conference tournament is April 25-27 at Oran Good Park in Farmers Branch. The winner receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs.

The Patriots boast a team batting average of .361, which ranks 15th in the country while the pitching staff ranks 14th with a 1.58 team ERA. UT Tyler leads the conference in both categories.

Senior Joey Cronin is having a standout season, tying the ASC record for most doubles in a season with 22, and ranking first in the conference in batting average hitting .473.

The pitching staff is led by two stellar performers, senior Heather Abshire and freshman Kelsie Batten.

Abshire has a 16-1 record with a 1.57 ERA, while also ranking second on the team in batting average (.397) and hits with 46. Batten has an impressive 17-1 record, leading the team in ERA (1.17) and strikeouts with 59.


Batten honored

UT Tyler freshman pitcher Kelsie Batten won the ASC East pitching award for the third straight week and fourth overall.

Batten, a right-hander from Huntington, went 2-0 with a save in division play against Louisiana College and East Texas Baptist, striking out 12 batters and not issuing a walk over 17 1/3 innings of work. Batten scattered 11 hits over the four appearances. Opponents hit just .180 against her.


Tennis time

The Patriot netters have a tennis DH today.

The No. 11-ranked men's team (18-3, 4-0 ASC East) takes on LeTourneau (12-5, 2-2) in Longview at 1 p.m., while both Patriot squads play East Texas Baptist at 5:30 p.m. at the Summers Tennis Center on the UT Tyler campus. The ETBU men are 3-13 (1-4), while the Lady Tigers are 1-15 (1-4).

On Saturday, the Patriot women (11-9, 3-1) visit LeTourneau (3-15, 2-2) at 9 a.m.

One win clinches the East for the Patriot men, while the women must win their matches and hope UT Dallas drops a match.

The ASC Tournament is April 26-28 on the campus of Texas Lutheran University in Seguin.


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