The Howard Payne Yellow Jackets’ quest for their first appearance in the American Southwest Conference championship baseball tournament since 2002 begins today as head coach Stephen Lynn’s squad hosts the University of Dallas in a noon doubleheader at Don Shepard Park.

The Yellow Jackets are coming off a 14-24 campaign in which they finished 7-14 in ASC West action.

Howard Payne returns an experienced roster as position players back include Jake Sadler, Colton Buzzard, Tyrone Ahin, Sam Dollahite, Chase Holmes, Ben Butler, Conner Roberts, Alan Sailors, Ryan Klose, Dusty Taylor and Carlton Brown — who was listed as one of 14 players in the ASC West to watch.

The Yellow Jackets also return a significant number of pitchers in Mitchell Marquis, Reed Klose, Gilbert Barrera, Jonathan Morris, Tyler Gaddis and Corey Howie — who also appeared on the ASC West 14 players to watch list.

Following today’s twin bill, the Yellow Jackets will host Jarvis College in a three-game series Friday and Saturday and welcome Dallas Christian for a doubleheader on Feb. 12. Among other non-conference games, the Yellow Jackets will take part in the Concordia University Classic in Austin Feb. 15-16, as well as the Tucson, Ariz. Invitational Tour Feb. 28-March 3.

ASC West action begins March 8-9 for HPU with a three-game home series against division favorite Concordia.

The Yellow Jackets were tabbed to finish fifth in the ASC West race, according to the preseason coaches and media poll. The top four teams from the West and East qualify for the conference championship tournament, which takes place the weekends of April 26-27 and May 3-4.