Feb. 15, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- UT Arlington rallied in the ninth for a 7-6 come behind win against Louisiana Tech in the 2013 season opener at Clay Gould Ballpark Friday night.
The Mavericks trailed by as much as five in the game and scored two runs in three of the last four innings to seal their second consecutive opening day win against the Bulldogs. UTA knocked off LA Tech 17-10 to begin the 2012 campaign.
"It's a great opening win," UT Arlington coach Darin Thomas said. "We didn't play well but I hope they learned. Hopefully right out of the chute they learn that you just never know and have to keep battling. The big decision was to bunt [Justin Copeland] there in the ninth but he made me look good."
Trailing by a run in the ninth, John Michael Twichell was hit by a pitch and Copeland singled to give UTA two runners on and no out. Following a Greg McCall pop out, Darien McLemore hit a grounder to second base to tie the game. Derek Miller gave UTA a walk-off win with a hard hit ball to center to score McLemore from second base.
"I was trying to not do too much," McLemore said. "It felt good but I didn't feel too much except for relief after the hit. I had complete confidence in the guys coming up behind me and once I got on base I knew the guys would drive me in.
The Mavs improved to 4-2 all-time in opening games under Darin Thomas. The Mavericks also lead the series against the Bulldogs 50-43. Copeland led UTA with four hits in the game, one run and one RBI. Miller has three hits and two RBI, including the game winner.
Chad Nack picked up the win for the Mavericks with a 4-inning relief effort that included five strikeouts and just one earned run.
UTA opened up scoring in the top of the first. Following a Ryan Walker walk, Twichell hit a line drive to left-center field scoring Walker from second base for the Mavs' first run of the season.
The Bulldogs would capitalize on a walk and two hit batters in the third inning to put up three runs. Then in the sixth LA Tech added three more. Kody Neel hit a low line drive to left field that dropped in to score two runs and a single from Tyler Ervine capped the top of the sixth.
"Getting down early was kind of our fault," Thomas said. "We hit a few guys and walked a few guys and next thing you know a couple of plays you could have made we are down 6-1."
Peter Cuomo got the Mavericks back on the board in the bottom half of the inning. With two outs, the Bulldogs centerfielder misplayed the pop fly. Cuomo scored from third on a Miller infield single to bring the Mavericks within three.
The Mavericks followed up that with another rally in the bottom of the seventh inning. Walker crossed the plate for a second time in the contest following a double to right. Twichell lined down the first-base lane with the ball just grazing off of the chalk for a triple. Copeland followed that up with a single to left field to bring UTA back to within just one run.
Timely hits would continue to plague UTA in the eighth inning. Miller opened up with a double to left field and Jake Pinchback moved him over with a sacrifice bunt to give the Mavericks an opportunity to tie the game with one out. Walker went down swinging and Matt Shortall grounded out to second to strand Miller at third.
The Mavericks and Bulldogs continue their series Saturday at 2 p.m. at Clay Gould Ballpark and finish off Sunday at 1 p.m.