ARLINGTON, Texas -- Daniel James earned a save in his season debut, firing four dominating innings with six strikeouts, leading UTA to a 5-1 win over No. 4 Texas Tech, in front of 4,259 on Tuesday night at the Texas Rangers Globe Life Ballpark.
UTA (9-8) posted the thrilling win over the blistering hot Red Raiders, using a three-run second and single runs in the fifth and eighth innings. UTA's pitching staff, using the three-man combination of James for the final four innings and starter Jordon West and lefty reliever Jake Wilcox to hold the the potent Texas tech offense to just two hits and four walks.
A native of Lubbock, Texas, James was called on in relief to start the sixth inning, with UTA holding a 3-1 lead after West and Wilcox combined to pitch the first four frames. It marked the first outing for James in 2017 after the junior righty had hip surgery late in the fall practice season. James fired a nearly untouchable four innings for his fourth career save, allowing only a two-out hit, finishing with six strikeouts. He tied his career high with four innings and his six punchouts also marked a career best.
The win marked the first for the Mavs over Texas Tech in Arlington since 1982 and marked UTA's 30th all-time win over a top-10 ranked foe. The Mavs have now taken down a top-10 team in four consecutive seasons, posting wins over No. 7 Oklahoma State and No. 5 TCU in 2016, No. 2 Texas A&M and No. 2 TCU in 2015 and No. 2 Louisiana in 2014.
Texas Tech (14-4) suffered just its fourth loss of the year as the Red Raiders own powerhouse wins over No. 8 Ole Miss, No. 2 LSU and No. 4 Arizona.
ON THE MOUND
West tossed a career-long 3.2 innings in his first career start. He allowed a hit and a run, walking three and striking out one. With two outs and a runner on first, UTA turned to Wilcox (2-0) in relief. Wilcox got the following four outs, retiring each hitter he faced. With a three-run lead in the top of the sixth inning, UTA gave the ball to James for his season debut.
Texas Tech starter John Henry Gonzalez (1-1) worked two innings, allowing three hits and three runs, walking one and striking out one. He was replaced to start the third inning by lefty Erikson Lanning. TTU also used Ty Halpenau, Parker Mushinski, Jacob Patterson, Caleb Freeman and John McMillon in relief.
LEADING THE MAVS
The Mavs finished with eight hits and eight walks in the game, also getting plunked by a pitch and stealing a pair of bases. Will Olson continued his stellar roll on the plate, going 2-for-4 with a RBI and a double. Over his last four games, Olson is 14 for 19 at the plate and has reached base safely in 22 of his 30 trips to the plate.
The Mavs also got a big two-run double in the second inning from Noah Vaughan and hits from Omar Salinas, Brady Cox, Quintin Rohrbaugh, Josh Minjarez and RJ Williams.
HOW THEY SCORED
The Mavs got on the board first in the bottom of the second, plating three runs on three hits and a walk. Olson led off with a single into the right-centerfield gap and Rohrbaugh drew a full-count walk. Vaughan then pounded a two-run double off the wall in rightfield, scoring the duo for an early lead. After a single from Minjarez, Vaughan scored from third on a balk.
The Red Raiders immediately answered in the top of the third inning as Orlando Garcia drew a four-pitch walk to leadoff, taking second on a wild pitch and scoring on Michael Davis' two-out RBI single.
Cox led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a walk, scoring UTA's fourth run after Olson pounded a double into the gap.
The Mavs return to action on Wednesday, hosting Abilene Christian at 6:30 p.m. CT at Clay Gould Ballpark.