March 17, 2012
BEAUMONT, Texas – Lance Day pitched another gem and UT Arlington exploded in the sixth inning to overwhelm Lamar 9-1 Saturday afternoon at Vincent-Beck Stadium.
Day worked into the seventh inning and improved to 6-0 on the season. The senior right hander came into the week tied for the most wins in the country.
The Mavericks have won the first two of the three-game weekend set to improve to 13-7 overall and 3-2 in the Southland Conference. Lamar is 6-12 and 0-5. The series concludes Sunday at 1 p.m. with UTA looking for a sweep.
"That's what we're going for," UT Arlington coach Darin Thomas said. "It's never easy, but we've put ourselves in that position with our play the first two days."
The Mavericks didn't get on the board until the sixth, chasing Lamar starter Eric Harrington with four consecutive hits and five overall. Ryan Walker and Preston Beck had bouncing RBI singles through the right side, with Michael Guerra driving in another run with a double in the left-center gap.
Harrington (0-3) had the UTA's number early, retiring 15 of the first 16 he faced. But once the floodgates opened, the Mavericks didn't let up. UTA kept it going against reliever Ben Coram and sent 12 to plate in the inning. The Mavericks added runs on a wild pitch, pass ball, an error and a two more hits to take an 8-1 lead.
"It was a pitchers' duel early," Thomas said. "Once we made some adjustments of not hitting the ball in the air, we got to Harrington a little bit. That was a key for us."
Lamar had its chances early, but wasn't able to do much damage. The first two Cardinals got on in the first, but Day fielded his position on sac bunt attempt and threw out the lead runner at third. Lamar loaded the bases with one out, but the Mavericks got out of the jam with a pair of groundouts, including a force at home.
Lamar once again got multiple runners aboard and was able to scratch across a run on Wayne Stanley's RBI single to left. Day settled down from there and pitched four consecutive scoreless innings before running into trouble in the seventh.
Michael Morales came on in relief and got out of a bases-loaded situation without Lamar scoring. Day's final line was 6 1/3 innings, seven hits and one earned run.
"He's 6-0," Thomas said. "We know what we're going to get out of Lance. It was nice to get him some run support."
Stewart Hill had a nice day at the dish, going 4 for 4 with two RBI and two runs scored.