March 6, 2012
Wichita, Kansas – For much of a windy Tuesday night at Eck Stadium, UT Arlington seemed destined to pick up another quality win on the road.
But the Wichita State Shockers rallied from a four-run deficit to down the Mavericks 5-4. UTA dropped to 9-4, 4-2 on the road, and has lost consecutive games for the first time this season.
The Mavericks had a 4-0 lead going into the bottom of the sixth, but starter Casey Merck tired and the bullpen couldn't hold on. UTA and the Shockers (7-6) finish up their two-game series here Wednesday, with the first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m.
Merck climbed atop the mound for the first time since blanking Oklahoma for six innings last Wednesday. The sophomore righty ran his scoreless innings streak to 11 by carrying a shutout into the sixth.
UTA didn't help its cause with three errors in the swirling, unpredictable wind. UTA had eight hits and left three runners stranded.
The Shockers had runners at the third in each of the first two innings with two outs, but Merck held strong and left them stranded.
Philip Incaviglia opened the third with a single and reached second on Daniel Garcia's sacrifice bunt. Michael Guerra bounced one through the left side with two outs to plate the first run of the game for UTA.
Wichita State got a break in the fifth when left fielder Derek Miller dropped a fly ball despite getting under it in the swirling wind. The Shockers had two on and one out instead of two out with a runner at first.
But the Mavericks dodged a bullet. Guerra scooped up a slow roller charging in from second and got the second out at first, moving both runners up a base. Ryan Walker then snagged a liner at short to end the inning.
Walker led off the sixth with a double off the wall in right. The Mavericks loaded the bases with one out with Jordan Vaughn up. Walker scored on a wild pitch by WSU reliever Foster Vielock. Vaughn knocked a single to left to score Guerra and Brandon Lawrence's sacrifice fly brought Brent Bollinger home.
The three-run burst gave UTA a 4-0 lead going into the bottom of the sixth. Merck walked the first two Shockers that inning, giving way to Adam Boydston. The senior reliever struck out the first batter but a wild pitch and infield single ended the shutout. A bloop to shallow right that also got caught up in the wind scored another to make it 4-2.
John Beck entered in the eighth after starting and going eight innings Friday against Houston Baptist. He didn't have the same stuff as three days ago, giving up three runs and the lead.
The Mavericks are back at Clay Gould Ballpark on Friday (6:30 p.m.) for the start of a three-game Southland Conference-opening series against Texas State.