RICHARDSON — Coming off a pair of series wins to open defense of their American Southwest Conference baseball regular season championship, the Howard Yellow Jackets were handed three league losses by the UT-Dallas Comets Friday and Saturday.
Howard Payne dropped the series opener by an 8-5 count Friday night, then suffered defeats of 6-0 and 11-1 Saturday.
In the series opener Friday, the Yellow Jackets (7-10, 4-5) fell behind 3-0 and were held scoreless for five innings, but drew even at 3 thanks to pair of runs in the sixth and one more in the seventh.
UT-Dallas (11-4, 8-1) answered with five runs in the bottom of the eighth, while the Yellow Jackets could muster just two in the top of the ninth.
The Comets racked up 13 hits off the HPU pitching combination of Xavier Haines, Bryant Chambers — who took the loss, yielding five runs in two-thirds of an inning — and J.T. Howard.
Austin Adams homered for UT-Dallas in the bottom of the eighth to break the tie and ignite the five-run surge.
For the Yellow Jackets, Jonathan McKay recorded three of their nine hits and drove in a run, Joey Villarreal and Carson Wert finished with two hits apiece, and Rylee McGee and Seth Stephens contributed one hit and one RBI apiece. R.J. Roberts also collected an RBI.
In Saturday's first game, the Yellow Jackets were limited to four hits by UT-Dallas' Carter Cochrane, who struck out six and walked two.
Wert recorded two singles, Derek Gifford doubled and Villarreal singled to account for HPU's hits.
On the mound, Jeramy Dodson was tagged with the loss after surrendering five earned runs on five hits with four walks and six strikeouts in five innings for work.
The Comets received three hits from A.J. Liu, while Isaiah Swanson doubled and drove in two runs.
In the series finale, the Yellow Jackets mustered their only run in the fifth inning, cutting the deficit to 4-1, but UT-Dallas answered with five runs in the sixth inning and two more in the seventh to enforce the run-rule.
Kyle Purdes, who took the loss, combined with Johnny Cravey, Chambers and Ty Garner to give up 11 earned runs on 13 hits with 10 walks and two strikeouts.
UT-Dallas was sparked by two hits and four RBI from Kaden Ingram, as well as three hits and two RBI apiece from Luke Richter and Hunter Cheek.
Howard Payne finished with seven hits off the UT-Dallas pitching duo of Joshua Wood and Ryan Vera, who fanned five and walked three.
Stephen Prewitt recorded three hits for the Yellow Jackets while Villarreal, McKay, McGee and Gifford added one each.
HPU's lone run was the result of Wert, who walked, scoring on a passed ball.
The Yellow Jackets will next face New Jersey City University in San Antonio at 1 p.m. Monday, then host Blackburn College at 1 p.m. Tuesday in non-conference action.