By Cassie Logan | @c4ssielogan
ARLINGTON, Texas - Christian Hollie's career night at the plate and UT Arlington's season-high 17 hits fueled a 10-2 series-opening victory over Incarnate Word on Thursday night at Clay Gould Ballpark.
Five Mavericks had multi-hit games as UTA (12-11) won its first game with double figure runs since March 12. Hollie set new career highs with five RBI and four hits, and was just a triple shy of the cycle. Darien McLemore was 3-for-4 with a pair of runs.
It was the Mavs sixth win in their last eight games at Clay Gould Ballpark, and its first win in three tries against Incarnate Word who fell to 5-17 on the season.
"We've been swinging it pretty well," coach Darin Thomas said. "Some guys made some adjustments and it's good to see some balls falling for once."
Jacob Moreland earned his first win of the season in middle relief without allowing a single hit and dealing four strikeouts. The senior needed just 32 pitches to finish out his 3.2 scoreless frames.
Starter Brad Vassar tossed the opening 4.1 innings and allowed two earned runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and a walk. Freshman Logan Austin also got into his second game of the season in throwing a scoreless ninth.
"Brad gave us everything he's got," Thomas said. "Moreland can throw every day, so he came in and did his thing. I thought Logan Austin threw really well in the last inning. It was an all around good effort."
The Cardinals struck early with two runs on a pair of RBI singles in the top of the first. Both hits came with two-strike counts and two outs on the board.
RJ Williams crushed his first homer of the season into the shrubs behind the left field fence to cut into Incarnate Word's quick lead.
The Mavericks kept swinging into the second as McLemore singled to lead the rally. Hollie doubled to right center to plate McLemore. Two batters later, Matt McLean walked, but was thrown out on a fielder's choice from Noah Vaughan, though the chopper to short brought Hollie home for the first of Vaughan's two RBI on the night.
From there, UTA decided a one-run lead wasn't enough.
After a scoreless third and another McLean walk, Williams laced a sacrifice fly out to right field to extend the lead 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth.
UIW attempted to add a few to the scoreboard in the fifth frame with a pair of singles, but Moreland had other plans and got Christian Divelbiss looking on a 3-2 count to negate any hope the Cardinals had.
An inning later, Hollie stretched the game further out of reach and connected at the sweet spot of the bat for his second home run of the season, a two-run shot that upped the lead to 6-2.
"I got that pretty good and off the bat, I knew it was gone, so I just started jogging," Hollie said.
UTA fed off that energy in the bottom of the seventh. Josh Minjarez singled with two outs and got the go-ahead on McLean's screaming triple to right field. Vaughan poked a single into right-center for his second RBI of the night to make it an 8-2 ballgame.
The stage was set for a confident Hollie in the eighth with bases loaded and nobody out. Following three consecutive singles from Brady Cox, Quintin Rohrbaugh and McLemore, UTA's designated hitter poked a single through to the left side to close the night with an eight-run advantage.
"I haven't been swinging it to the best of my ability lately, but I've been working a lot with the coaches and it's good to see the work pay off in the end," Hollie said.
Game 2 of the series is set for 6:30 p.m. Friday at Clay Gould Ballpark with Daniel James getting the start for the Mavs. The series finale will be played at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
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