Feb. 24, 2011
ARLINGTON, Tex. - Jesse Payne's game-winning RBI-single in the bottom of the ninth Thursday night broke a tie and gave UT Arlington a 5-4 win over Dallas Baptist at Clay Gould Ballpark.
The win in the Mavericks' home opener marked their first of the season.
It didn't come easy for UTA or, for that matter, for Payne, who struck out in each of his first two at-bats. However, Payne bounced back with hits in each of his final three at-bats, the last of which broke a 4-4 tie against DBU relief pitcher Chris Haney.
"He was throwing pretty hard," Payne said. "I took a change-up down the middle that wasn't my pitch and then he blew me up with a fastball, so I figured he would come with another fastball inside. I just took a short swing and it worked out."
"We don't win if we don't pitch tonight and I thought we pitched extremely well," UTA coach Darin Thomas said. "We hung five zeros in relief from those three guys and I thought Calan pitched well. We misplayed a couple balls behind him and we get in the hole again. I thought he did a good job of hanging in there.
"I'm especially proud of our bullpen. What turned everything was the pitching out of the pen. We were still in the game and then we were one hit away and then we come back and win."
The Mavericks (1-3) trailed 4-0 in the bottom of the eighth but scored four in the frame to draw even. Brian Nephew's two-RBI double to right-center field tied the game.
Preston Beck put the Mavs on the board first when his RBI-single to right drove home Michael Guerra, who led off the pivotal eighth inning with a double down the right-field line.
"I knew I was going to come up in the eighth and have a chance to do something," Nephew said. "I got ahead of him early, 2-0, and if he gave me a fastball I said I was just going to put a good swing on it and put something in the outfield to give us a chance for a sac fly at least. Then it just kept carrying.
"It's just a team win right there with everybody coming up with big hits."
UTA also benefitted from an Austin Elkins error that allowed Beck to score.
Though the Mavs' bats came to life late, Dallas Baptist starter Brandon Williamson frustrated their offense through his 6.0 scoreless innings. The Patriots right-hander gave up three hits and walked two while striking out five.
It was the pitching - specifically that of UTA starter Calan Pritchard over his final three innings and the bullpen - that gave the Mavericks a chance to come back from four runs down.
Pritchard worked through a rough first inning that included the leadoff man, Austin Elkins, reaching on an error and what would have been a routine flyball to left field that the wind transformed into a run-scoring double off the bat of Jason Krizan.
The first seven Patriots reached base and the three-run frame could have been worse for the Mavs. Preston Beck gunned down Krizan at the plate on a single to right-center for the first out in the inning.
After that, Pritchard settled down and held Dallas Baptist to one run over his last three innings.
Westbrook picked up the win in relief in his UTA debut.
Krizan went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI for the Patriots (3-1). They play again Friday at 11 a.m. against Missouri State in the UTA Invitational.
The Mavs return to the field at 3 p.m. for their game against South Dakota State.