March 29, 2013
Saturday Probable Starting Pitchers
UTA – Chase Weaver (2-0, 3.24 ERA) vs. LA Tech – Trevor Peterson (2-2, 3.60 ERA)
RUSTON, Louisiana – UT Arlington got to one of the best pitchers in the Western Athletic Conference and beat Louisiana Tech 7-1 Friday night to open a three-game series at Pat Patterson Park.
The Mavericks (13-12) have won their last three WAC games to improve to 3-1 in the conference. As impressive as the winning streak is the outing against Bulldogs starter Phil Maton, who came into the series second in the WAC with a 1.14 ERA.
UT Arlington put five runs on the board in the fifth and chased Maton in the sixth. Greg McCall led the Mavericks with three RBI, including a two-run home run to right-center after Maton departed. Matt Shortall upped his team-leading RBI total to 27 with a two-run double during the fifth-inning outburst.
The Mavericks' offensive success told only half the story. UTA starter Brad Vachon expertly maneuvered through the Bulldogs' lineup for a career-high nine innings, allowing one run on just five hits in improving to 3-2. He struck out a personal-best 10 batters in the complete game.
"He's one pitch away from a strikeout," UT Arlington coach Darin Thomas said. "It's the first time we've had double-digit strikeouts this season. Brad did a great job and we did a good job of scrapping some runs in there in the middle innings."
LA Tech (11-17, 1-3) broke a scoreless tie in the fourth on Sam Alvis' two-out double into left-center to score Tyler Qualls. The Bulldogs nearly added to the lead on Bre'Shon Kimbell's hot smash up the middle, but UTA second baseman Darien McLemore made a lunging catch to save a run.
The Mavericks got that run and more right back in their next at-bat. Jake Pinchback opened the inning by getting hit by Maton. After a sac bunt, Maton was hit by a line drive off McCall's bat that ricocheted into right field that scored Pinchback.
"McCall had some great at-bats," Thomas said. "He and Brad were the stars of the game."
A sac fly from Justin Copeland and McLemore's RBI double made it 5-1 against the LA Tech ace. The five runs in the inning are more than what Maton had given up in previous game all season. Maton hadn't allowed more than three runs before Friday.
The Bulldogs loaded the bases with one out in the second, with an error and walk accounting for two runners. Vachon got out of the jam with two strikeouts.
The Mavericks are 4-0 against Louisiana Tech, having swept a three-game nonconference series in Arlington to open the season.
The series resumes Saturday at 3 p.m. and ends Easter Sunday at 1 p.m.