Baseball's rally falls short in 6-4 loss to Houston
Feb. 20, 2011
HOUSTON, Tex. - UT Arlington mounted a comeback after falling behind by four runs in the first, but ultimately fell short in its 6-4 loss to Houston on Sunday afternoon at Cougar Field.
The Mavericks had plenty of opportunities to catch and even pass the Cougars (3-0), but stranded 11 runners during the game. That tally included two in the top of the ninth when Jesse Payne represented the go-ahead run at the plate.
With runners on the corners and two outs, Payne hammered a grounder that caromed off the backhanded attempt by right-handed Houston first baseman Codey Morehouse. Morehouse quickly regrouped and threw to closer Chase Dempsay who beat Payne to the bag on a close, game-ending play.
Dempsay gave up a pair of hits but retired the side to earn his first save of the season and give Houston the three-game sweep.
The Cougars knocked UTA starter Mark Picca out of the game early after getting two-run home runs from Chase Jensen and Austin Gracey. They added another run before Kasey Merck came on with two outs in the first to close the inning.
Merck, making his collegiate debut, gave the Mavs a chance to come back. He retired the first seven hitters he faced before issuing a leadoff walk to Morehouse in the fourth. The true freshman threw 5.1 innings, striking out three and giving up just one hit - a leadoff single by Gracey in the sixth.
Preston Beck drew UTA even closer with a two-out, bases loaded single to right that scored Greg McCall and Walker. Beck's hit chased Houston starter Taylor Hammack from the game, but Matt Creel came on to get Guerra to ground to third, ending the threat.
Creel's entrance led to a relief pitcher's duel between him and Merck. Creel, who earned the win in relief, matched Merck frame for frame, holding the Mavericks to two hits and one walk over 4.1 scoreless innings.
Houston finally snapped the middle-innings stalemate in the seventh when Jensen dropped a two-out RBI single into right center against Adam Boydston.
Jensen's first-inning homer would have been more damaging had Picca (0-1) not picked off Ryan Still from first. Landon Appling broke for home while Still was in the rundown and Picca gunned down Appling at the plate.
Beck's fourth-inning single extended his hitting streak to 23 games. He finished the game 2 for 5.
In addition to Beck, Vaughn, Guerra, Comer and McCall all had two hits for the Mavericks (0-3).
Calan Pritchard worked a perfect eighth inning with two strikeouts.
The Mavs return to the field for their home opener Thursday afternoon when they play Dallas Baptist at 3 p.m. in the first game of the UTA Invitational.