March 18, 2011
ARLINGTON, Tex. - Ryan Walker's walk-off, RBI single in the ninth scored Daniel Jordan and gave UT Arlington a 2-1 win over UTSA in the first of a three-game series Friday night at Clay Gould Ballpark.
UTA trailed 1-0 into the eighth before pushing a run across in each of the final two frames to win its fifth consecutive game.
"This Friday was no different than last Friday - you just have to find a way to win," UTA coach Darin Thomas said. "We found a way to get it done and rallied in the ninth. Nothing's ever easy. We were picked a little bit down in the conference so nothing's ever going to be easy. We're going to figure out how to get an easy one one of these days.
"Tonight we were just able to do enough against a really good starting pitcher and we feel fortunate to get a win."
Walker came up with runners on first and second and nobody out in the ninth after Jordan led off with a hit and Philip Incaviglia reached on a fielder's choice sacrifice bunt.
The true freshman fell behind 0-2 before lacing a line drive up the middle. Thomas waved home Jordan and UTSA center fielder Daniel Rockett's throw beat Jordan but catcher Colby Braddock was unable to hold onto the short-hopped throw, allowing Jordan to score and inciting a UTA celebration in the middle of the infield.
"It's pretty exciting," said Walker, who finished with three hits. "I'd definitely like to keep it going. I always love those situations. After I fell behind 0-2, I just wanted to put the ball in play and make them make a play. It worked out."
The Mavericks' come-from-behind win spoiled a terrific outing from UTSA Casey Selsor, who limited the Mavs to one run on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts. The southpaw did not allow a Maverick to reach base with fewer than two outs on anything other than an error until the eighth when he hit Preston Beck to lead off the frame.
Beck ultimately scored when Brian Nephew greeted UTSA reliever Kevin Clarke by hammering an infield single to third base, tying the game at 1.
UT Arlington (11-7, 3-1) had a chance to take the lead a play later when Jake Pinchback smoked a double off the top of the right-center field wall.
However, Jordan Vaughn waited to break, tagging up on the play instead. Once the ball bounced off the wall, Nephew was mere feet behind Vaughn. Both players tried to score on the play but were chopped down on the relay, started by UTSA right fielder Tyler Carpenter. Braddock moved inside the line to tag Vaughn for the second out and then tagged Nephew trying to sneak to the outside to end the inning.
UTA reliever Michael Morales entered in the ninth with a runner on second and one out. After Ryan Hutson advanced to third on a flyout to center field, Morales struck out Carpenter to end the threat.
"The biggest play was when we ended the ninth without giving up a run and gained the momentum back on our side," Thomas said.
Morales earned the win in relief of Lance Day, who again fell victim to a lack of run support.
Day lasted 8.1 innings, allowing just one run on six hits. He walked three and struck out four. More importantly, he kept the Mavericks in the game by pitching out of trouble, leaving runners in scoring position in four innings.
"They had some guys on and they had some chances," Thomas said. "It seemed like they had a guy in scoring position quite a bit. Lance just competed and Mo was outstanding."
UTSA (6-14, 0-4) took the lead in the first inning when Riley Good, who led off the game with a double off the first-base bag, scored on Daniel Rockett's sacrifice fly to left. Pinchback made a nice jumping catch at the wall to turn a possible extra-base hit into a sacrifice fly, but the Roadrunners scored their only run of the game on the play.
Pinchback had two doubles and Nephew went 2-for-4 with the game-tying RBI for the Mavericks.
UT Arlington looks to clinch the series Saturday when it hosts UTSA at 2 p.m. at Clay Gould Ballpark.