ARLINGTON, Texas -- Will Olson's walk-off homer in the 11th inning lifted UTA to a 11-10 win over Wright State to even the three-game series, on Saturday afternoon at Clay Gould Ballpark.
After Wright State (4-6) rallied from down 10-1 to tie the game and force extra innings, UTA used a strong relief outing from Ryan Buss and the walk-off homer from Olson to earn the win.
The win marked the 300th of the career for UTA Head Coach Darin Thomas, in his 11th year directing the Mavs. Thomas was named Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year in 2017.
UTA (4-4) appeared to be cruising to the series-evening win on Saturday, taking a 10-1 lead after five complete innings. Wright State then scored the next nine runs to force extra innings.
ON THE MOUND
UTA starter Brad Vassar worked an out shy of his first quality start since 2016. Vassar worked 5.2 innings, allowing seven hits and two runs, walking three and striking out three. It marked his longest outing of the year in his first start of 2018 and was his best start since working 6.2 shutout innings at South Alabama in 2016.
He allowed single runs in the first and sixth innings before giving way to righty Dylan Schneider in relief. Schneider got two outs, over the sixth and seventh, allowing three hits and five runs, walking one and striking out one. With the bases juiced and one out in the seventh, UTA turned to lefty Adam Meyer in relief.
Meyer hit a batter and allowed a bunt single before Cody Wernli came in from the bullpen. Wernli allowed a walk and two-run single before lefty Jake Wilcox took over. Wilcox plunked a hitter but got an inning-ending double play to escape the jam.
Logan Austin opened the eighth inning on the mound and got four outs, allowing three hits and one run. Buss (1-0) earned his first career win with a career-long 2.2 shutout innings, allowing just two hits and two strikeouts.
Wright State (4-5) starter Zane Collins worked into the fourth inning, retiring nine hitters and allowing six runs on four hits and four walks without a strikeout. He was relieved by Mitch Gremling in the fourth. Gremling got a pair of outs in the fourth, allowing two runs, before Jake Schrand relieved him. WSU also used Daniel Kreuzer, Jason Foster and Jeremy Randolph in relief. Randolph worked three shutout innings, a night after earning the win, before giving way to Derek Hendrixson, who suffered the loss after earning the save last night.
LEADING THE MAVS
While Olson provided the heroics with his second homer of the weekend and his second consecutive game with a homer, UTA also got multi-hit games from Phil Berthiaume, Easton Johnson, Josh Minjarez, Christian Hollie and Jakob Nunez. Olson, Minjarez and Noah Vaughan each belted homers. The Mavs also got two RBI from RJ Williams, and a knock from Omar Salinas, who drew two walks.
The series will conclude on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT at Clay Gould Ballpark. The game will be broadcast live on UTAMavs.com.
HOW THEY SCORED
Wright State took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, plating a run on two hits and a walk.
The Mavs immediately answered on the strength of a solo homer from Vaughan, belted over the rightfield fence for his third homer of the year and week. Salinas followed with a walk and was replaced at first on a fielder's choice from Hollie. Olson then drew a walk to put a pair on for Olson, who ripped a full-count, two-run double into the left-centerfield gap, scoring Hollie and Olson.
UTA added a run in the second, getting a leadoff double from Berthiaume, who took third on a ground ball and scored on a groundout from Williams.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, UTA got a leadoff walk from Nunez and Minjarez belted a two-run homer over the leftfield fence, the first of his year and the second of his career. Berthiaume then drew a walk and stole second, taking third on a single from Johnson and scoring on a groundout from Williams. Salinas then extended UTA's lead with a two-strike single to left, scoring Johnson from second.
The Mavs added on in the fifth inning, taking a 10-1 lead. Nunez, Minjarez and Berthiaume led off with singles to load the bases. Johnson then smashed a two-run single up the middle, allowing Nunez and Minjarez to score, with Berthiaume nabbed at third trying to take an extra base.
Wright State got a run back in the top of the sixth inning, getting a one-out single and a two-out RBI knock from Matt Morrow to cut the lead to 10-2.
In the top of the seventh inning, WSU cut into the UTA lead with seven runs. Peyton Burdick led off with a single, stealing second and taking third on a deep fly out. Seth Gray scored Burdick with a single into centerfield, with Gray scoring off a wild pitch. With the bases loaded with one out, WSU was hit by a pitch and then got a bunt single to score its fourth run of the inning. Wernli, fresh out of the bullpen, then issued a walk to score WSU's seventh run. A two-run single then ended Wernli's outing in favor of Wilcox. Wilcox hit the first batter he faced to load the bases again but induced an inning-ending double play to escape with a one-run lead.
In the top of the eighth inning WSU erased UTA's lead, getting a leadoff double from Zac Weatherford and a single from JD Orr. Chase Sloan then scored Weatherford with an RBI fielder's choice to even the game at 10.
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