Hardin-Simmons’ baseball team will open its quest for a first American Southwest Conference Championship of Friday against Texas-Tyler at 6 p.m. at Irwin Field.
It is the second straight year the two teams have faced off in the ASC Championship Series. The Patriots won in three games last season. HSU is making its 13th trip to the ASC postseason which is tied for the most in league history and it is the ninth straight year HSU has made the postseason, which is the longest streak in the league.
HSU comes into the series with a 22-18 record and the Patriots are 30-10. UTT took two out of three games in a series earlier in the season in Tyler. HSU won 5-2 on Friday and UTT won both games on Saturday by scores of 5-0 and 5-2.
The two teams matchup favorably when looking at overall team stats. HSU hits .289 and UTT hits .287 as a team. HSU has a team ERA of 3.16 and the Patriots team ERA is 3.29.
Eric Zamora will get the ball for the Cowboys in game one. The junior righthander is 7-2 with a 2.57 ERA. James Simmons will get the nod in game two with a 5-5 record and a 2.28 ERA. A third game starter is two be determined.
The Patriots will counter with Jordan Marah (7-2, 2.12), Chance Cotton (7-2, 2.43) and Jack Barkley (6-3, 4.92) in some order.
Both teams have quality closers. Derek Miller is 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA and a nation-leading 13 saves for UTT and Tyler Brunnemann is 1-1 with a 0.76 ERA and 10 saves. Brunnemann became the Cowboys career strikeout leader on Monday with 179. He has 55 strikeouts and just two walks on the season.
Offensively, the Cowboys are led by junior second baseman Marcus Uechi, who is hitting .342 with three home runs, 29 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. Senior rightfielder Andrew Bell is hitting .333 with two home runs and 23 RBIs. He has also walked 27 times on the year. First baseman Troy Nicholson leads the team with 34 runs driven in.
UTT is led by Kevan House. He is hitting .382 with seven home runs and 35 RBIs. He leads the ASC with 25 extra-base hits. Isaac Tijerina is hitting. .343 with two home runs and 37 RBIs.
HSU is 4-4 all-time in ASC Championship Series and 0-2 all-time at Texas-Tyler.
Game times for Saturday is set for 2 p.m. and the if necessary game would follow 30 minutes later. The winner of the four ASC Championship Series will advance to the ASC Championship Tournament that would be played at the highest remaining East Division team the following weekend.
All HSU games can be heard on www.hsuathletics.com.
Information for this story provided by HSU Sports Information.