TYLER – The Howard Payne Yellow Jackets tumbled to 10th place in the American Southwest Conference baseball standings following their ninth consecutive loss Sunday, as the UT-Tyler Patriots capped a three-game weekend sweep with a 3-2 triumph.
Heading into the final three games of the regular season against Sul Ross (19-18, 15-12) Friday and Saturday at Don Shepard Park, the Yellow Jackets (12-23, 7-19) – who last won on April 3 - trail ninth-place Louisiana College (12-23, 8-19) by a half-game and eighth-place Hardin-Simmons (12-22, 8-15) by 2 ˝ games. Louisiana College visits East Texas Baptist (18-18, 9-15) next weekend while Hardin-Simmons hosts UT-Dallas (23-14, 17-7).
In Sunday’s loss, the Yellow Jackets grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Brandon Garrett led off with a single and scored on a two-out RBI infield hit by Matthew Daniel.
UT-Tyler (30-10, 24-6), which continued to hold down second place in the ASC standings, scored all three of its runs in the bottom of the second off HPU pitcher Kyle Ramon. Derick Smith drove home Kevan House, who singled, and Blake Bonnin, who walked, with a two-out, two-RBI double to left-center field. Reid Coover followed with an RBI infield single that brought home Douglas Kinsey, who reached on a walk.
Howard Payne closed the gap to 3-2 in the top of the third as John Elmore’s two-out RBI single drove home Joshua Martinez, who started the frame with a single. Will Roberts followed Elmore’s hit with a double, but the potential tying and go-ahead runs were both stranded in scoring position, and neither team scored again.
The Yellow Jackets collected 10 hits off the UT-Tyler pitching combination of Cade Suggs, Nate Imig, Chris Stodolka, Tyler Stallings and Chad Hayes. Elmore led HPU with three hits, Roberts added a pair and Martinez, Daniel, Jake Sadler, Dustin DeJohn and Cody Cain also got into the act.
Ramon tossed a complete game for the Jackets, allowing three earned runs on nine hits with 11 strikeouts and a pair of walks.