Playing in its 10th game in 10 days, UT Arlington's baseball team defeated Alabama, 12-8, on Sunday at Clay Gould Ballpark and showed the coaching staff a little about its character.
"We've had such a hectic schedule since the season started, it was great to see the guys come out with focus and enthusiasm from the very beginning," Mavericks coach Darin Thomas said. "I was very proud of that. It says a lot about the guys on this team."
UTA wasted no time in proving that it was ready.
The Mavericks jumped on Alabama for seven runs in the first inning; they led by as many as 10 runs by the fifth and halted a Crimson Tide late-inning rally to sweep the two-game season series against the visitors. UTA beat Alabama (3-5) on Thursday in much the same fashion - going up by a bunch and holding off an Alabama rally.
This time, the Mavericks had a 2-0 lead before fans at Clay Gould Ballpark had much of a chance to settle in and get comfortable.
Preston McCoy led off the game with a walk off Alabama starter Jimmy Nelson (1-1). Evan Raley followed with a homer down the right-field line. From there, things continued to get worse for Nelson. He allowed a single to Michael Choice, hit Danny Slinkman, then suffered from more lack of control with two wild pitches. He also couldn't get any help from his defense. By the time the inning was over, UTA batted around and scored seven runs on five hits and three errors.
Mavericks starter Ryan Robinson (1-1), getting the nod after his solid performance last Tuesday against Louisiana Tech, allowed a run in the third and battled out of a couple of jams to hold the lead comfortable for the Mavericks. Robinson gave up two runs in the seventh, but the Mavericks offense and more control problems for Alabama pitching kept it 11-3.
When Robinson allowed back-to-back singles to start the eighth, his day was over in favor of UTA's bullpen. Robinson left after going seven innings. He allowed 12 hits, four runs and didn't walk a batter. He struck out two and earned his first victory.
"That's his second good start, which is really nice to see," Thomas said. "That's what he was brought in here for, to be a starting pitcher for us and keep us in games like he did today. Our starting pitching the whole season has been good so far."
Maverick relievers Brandon Endsley and Jeff Edlefsen made things interesting by combining to allow four hits, two walks and four runs as Alabama cut into the lead. By the time Drew Clementz entered with one out in the ninth, Alabama had loaded the bases and had the tying run at the place trailing 12-8.
But a grounder to first nailed down the victory and earned a save for Clementz (1).
UTA's five, six, seven and eight hitters combined to go 5-for-12 with five runs scored.
"This is the second weekend in a row where I felt like we should have gone 3-1, but I'll take 2-2 considering that we had to beat Alabama to finished 2-2 this weekend," Thomas said. "We played well in a lot of areas."