Texas-Tyler head coach reaches milestone in sweep

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Texas-Tyler head coach Brent Porche came to
the Patriots in 2017 with 147 wins as a head

Texas-Tyler athletics photo

ABILENE – Blake Maddox belted a grand slam in the 11th inning to lift UT Tyler to an 8-4 win in the first game and the Patriots scored four runs with two outs in the fifth inning of a 6-4 series finale win to complete a three-game American Southwest Conference sweep of McMurry on Saturday at Walt Driggers Field.

The Patriots (15-8, 7-5 ASC) swept their first ASC series of the season and helped head coach Brent Porche reach a milestone as he surpassed the 200-win milestone. In his second season after coaching at LSU Alexandria, Porche is now 201-100 in his career after leading the Patriots to three wins this weekend in Abilene.

“After swinging the bats the way we did last night and winning big, we challenged our guys to come out and earn it again today,” Porche said. “We knew winning a series on the road, let along sweeping wouldn’t be an easy task. In this game and in this conference you have to play well consistently to win games. Everyone is good enough to beat you. Our guys did a tremendous job grinding out some tough wins today for a much needed sweep. We scored all our runs in the last game with two outs, and that’s a testament to the fight these guys have developed over this season so far. I’m very proud of them for the adversity we’ve overcome. We just have to keep pushing each other to get better every day.”

UT Tyler will return to action at 7 p.m. on Thursday when the Patriots host Centenary before the non-conference series moves over to Shreveport, Louisiana for two games on Friday. UTT will resume ASC play in two weeks with a road series at Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton.

Maddox was the star in the opener where he went 3-for-5 with his game-winning grand slam and a solo home run in the fifth to tie the game. Maddox, who also homered on Friday in the series opener, tied the game at 4-4 with a one-out homer in the fifth after McMurry had scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead. The solo home run was his fourth of the season and would help the Patriots take the game in to extra innings.

After five quiet frames, Graham Welch hit a one-out triple to right-center field to get the inning started and was followed by Josh Burns and Bowie Farris who both walked. That brought up Maddox who turned on a 1-1 pitch for the grand slam in the top of the 11th. A Jacksonville native who started his career at Tyler Junior College, Maddox finished the game with a career-high five RBIs and hit the first grand slam of the UT Tyler season in its first extra-inning game.

Blake Wilson also had himself a game, going 4-for-6 while Welch was 2-for-5 with the 14th triple of his career. A junior from Plano, Welch is now only one triple away from the program’s all-time record of 15 triples which is owned by Sam Lane.

UT Tyler led 1-0 on a Zach Pavelock RBI single in the second and took a 3-0 lead with a Farris RBI groundout and a Jared Pauley RBI single in the second. Alex Masotto (1-1) earned the win for the Patriots after throwing two scoreless innings of relief before Graham Welch came in for his fifth save of the year with a scoreless inning following the grand slam. UT Tyler starter Simon Sedillo threw 6 1/3 innings with three strikeouts and only one earned run allowed in the no-decision, while Sam Sitton threw 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

The series finale saw the Patriots rally once again to earn the 6-4 win despite not having a hit through four innings. With two outs in the top of the fifth, Wilson would finally break open the door for UT Tyler with a single through the right-side of the infield for the first hit of the game and was then followed by a Landon Shofner walk. Jordan Antley would drive in the first run of the game with a single through the left-side before Burns walked with the bases loaded to score another and then Farris and Bishop were both hit by pitches with the bases loaded to score runs.

In the top of the seventh, Bishop would give the Patriots more runs with a two-run home run after Farris had reached on a single. A senior from Canada, Bishop now has three home runs this season and 15 in his UT Tyler career. He finished the game 1-for-3 with three RBIs, while Farris, Wilson and Antley accounted for the four UT Tyler hits in the game.

Nate Imig (1-0) earned his first win since the 2016 season after missing last year and the first month of this season due to injury. A right-hander from Leander, Imig improved to 11-2 in his career after allowing only two earned runs through five innings of work before Sam Sitton threw a scoreless sixth and Chris Stodolka earned the save by recording the final three outs in the seventh.

McMurry fell to 7-17 overall with the loss and are 2-11 in ASC play.

“It’s a tremendous honor to hit the 200-win mark,” Porche said. “All the glory goes to good Lord for giving me the opportunity to do this for a living. So many people have played a vital roll in the success of our teams over the years. From my father instilling the love for the game inside me, to my family, especially my wife and kids who supported me though the early years trying to get my foot in the door in this game. My mentors who have me the opportunity to get into the game, Wade Simoneaux and Rocke Musgraves. All the coaches I’ve worked with and all the assistants who have been behind putting these teams together and putting in the work every day to make things go. Last but certainly not least all the players that have played for us, for allowing us to push them to be their best and for the hard work, sweat, blood and tears. I hope we can keep making great memories with these guys for years to come. Hopefully 200 is only the beginning of the story.”