Feb. 25, 2011
ARLINGTON, Tex. - Michael Guerra went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, three RBI and a run scored, guiding UT Arlington past South Dakota State in a 6-5 victory Friday afternoon at Clay Gould Ballpark.
The 27th out of the game, though, came in peculiar fashion.
With two outs and the bases empty, SDSU's Billy Stitz hit a flyball to right-center field that fell in front of a diving Philip Incaviglia. Preston Beck picked up the ball off the carom and threw to third trying to gun down Stitz, who beat the throw. Beck's throw bounced a couple feet away from Brian Nephew, who was surprised to see Stitz taking off for home. Nephew threw to the plate where Chad Comer tagged out Stitz to end the game.
"I haven't seen a game end like that in I can't say how long," UTA coach Darin Thomas said. "Maybe never. We'll take it."
Just like that, the Mavs (2-3) picked up their second consecutive win and Adam Boydston, less than a year removed from Tommy John surgery, recorded his 10th career save.
"It's not exactly how I wanted it," said Boydston, who struck out one and gave up just the one hit in his inning of work. "I'd like to be able to locate pitches a little better, but the defense played great behind me."
The Mavs endured their first-inning troubles again Friday. Kasey Merck struck out Stitz to start the game, but gave up a pair of soft hits before Jesse Sawyer clubbed a three-run home run to left-center field, giving the Jackrabbits (0-1) a 3-0 lead.
"We've got to find a way to do a better job in the first inning," Thomas said. "(We haven't held our opponents) scoreless yet, but after that we only gave up two and (SDSU) swings the bats really well."
Merck settled after the home run, giving up just two more hits over the next 3.2 innings. He did not factor in the decision in his first collegiate start. He allowed five hits in his 4.0 innings of work, allowing four runs on five hits while walking one and striking out three.
The Mavericks bats picked Merck up right away by answering with two of their own runs. Jesse Payne's two-out, two-run single cut South Dakota State's lead to 3-2.
Dating back to Thursday night against Dallas Baptist, Payne strung together hits in five consecutive at-bats before grounding out to short in the fifth.
The Mavs struck again in the second when Guerra smacked a two-run double into the left-field corner.
After the Jackrabbits drew even in the third on a Joel Blake sacrifice fly, the Mavs broke the 4-4 tie in the sixth. Ryan Walker drove home Nephew with a sacrifice fly and Guerra struck again, belting an RBI double to score Nick Orr.
"I was trying to score the runs," Guerra said. "Last night I think I got (the rally started) with that double and I felt like I was one hit away from building the lead."
Payne, Nephew, Orr and Walker each had two hits to go along with Guerra's three.
Beck, however, went 0-for-3, snapping his 24-game hitting streak.
Alex Oberle (0-1) threw a complete game for the Jackrabbits. He went 8.0 innings, giving up 13 hits and six runs with two walks and two strikeouts. Blake led the team offensively, going 3-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI.
The Mavericks return to the field Saturday evening for their final game of the UTA Invitational. They play at 3 p.m. against Missouri State.