UT ARLINGTON WINS 1,100TH GAME IN SWEEP, LONG STRIKES OUT 15
March 28, 2009
THIBODAUX, La. - The UT Arlington pitching staff tallied 24 strikeouts while leading the Mavericks to a doubleheader sweep over Nicholls, 6-5 and 7-2, on Saturday at Ray E. Didier Field in Thibodaux. The Mavericks game-one victory marked the 1,100th all-time win in UT Arlington history. Senior pitchers Andy Sauter and Nathan Long led the Mavs on the mound winning game one and game two, respectively, as UT Arlington clinched its third straight Southland Conference series.
The Mavericks are now 14-11 overall and 7-4 in the SLC while the Colonels drop to 11-12 overall and to 5-6 in conference play.
"We didn't make it easy on our pitchers today," head coach Darin Thomas said. "We had some opportunities to score some more runs and we didn't. Give our pitchers credit because the runs we did score our pitchers allowed them to hold up."
Long had a memorable performance in game two. After allowing back-to-back walks and a single in the bottom of the first, Long allowed only two base runners going into the eighth inning. He struck out a career-high 15 batters, just one strikeout away from tying the school record of 16 that was set in 1997.
"Once we got some runs in the first two innings that got me some fire going," Long said. "All of my pitches were working for me tonight. My slider is what got me most of my strikeouts."
UT Arlington gave Long all the support he would need scoring three runs in the first inning off a three-run double by right fielder Matt Otteman. The Mavs also scored a run on a bases-loaded walk in the second, a triple by Ryan Davis in the sixth and on a two-out, two -run double by Andrew Kainer in the ninth.
Long stuck out every batter in Nicholls' starting lineup at least once and at one point struck out five straight batters from the fourth-to-sixth inning. In addition, Long retired 15 straight batters from the first-to-sixth frame. He finished the game pitching 7 1/3 innings while allowing five hits, two runs and four walks with his 15 strikeouts.
The Mavericks pitching staff combined to strikeout 18 Colonels in the second game, as junior Jason Mitchell tallied all three outs in the ninth inning on strikeouts.
Michael Choice (2-for-5, 2 runs), Kainer (2-for-5, 2 RBI) and Ryan Davis (2-for-4) all had multiple hit games for UT Arlington. Otteman went 1-for-5 with three RBI while improving his hit streak to 25 games, just one game shy of tying the school's all-time record.
The Mavericks were able to go for the doubleheader sweep after Sauter pitched 8 1/3 innings, allowing 11 hits, five runs and one walk with six strikeouts while earning the win in game one on Saturday.
Sauter fought through the first frame after giving up five straight singles that led to four runs for Nicholls to start the inning. After the first inning, Sauter allowed only one run during his remaining time on the mound that lasted until the ninth inning.
The Mavericks' hitters answered the Colonels' four-run first inning by scoring a pair of runs in the second, third and seventh innings.
Preston McCoy and Ryan Davis each collected RBIs on sacrifice flies to score runs in the second and UT Arlington's tacked on two runs in the third on a throwing error by the Nicholls third baseman. Later, Kainer and Otteman scored the Mavs' final runs in the seventh on consecutive RBI singles.
Sauter exited in the ninth inning with one out as sophomore left-handed pitcher Adam Boydston recorded the final two outs to earn his fourth save of the season.
Otteman went 3-for-5 while Kainer (2-for-4) and Steggall (2-for-4) each posted multi-hit games for UT Arlington. The Mavericks had nine players with a base hit as they out-hit the Colonels 13-11. Sauter won his third game of the season while Nicholls relief pitcher Ross Larson lost his first game of the season.
UT Arlington will look to complete its second straight Southland Conference sweep on Sunday with a 1 p.m. first pitch at Ray E. Didier Field. UT Arlington will start sophomore right-handed pitcher Rett Varner (2-1) while Nicholls is expected to start righty Tyler Minto (1-1).