By Cassie Logan | @c4ssielogan
ARLINGTON, Texas - ULM scored four times on four hits in the first inning and never surrendered the lead in picking up a win over UT Arlington, 8-3, in Friday's series opener at Clay Gould Ballpark.
UTA (17-14, 4-6 SBC) scattered its three runs in the first, sixth and eighth innings on seven hits to ULM's (12-18, 3-7) 12. The Mavs twice tried to mount a rally in both the sixth and seventh innings, but stranded five of its 10 runners in those two innings before ULM picked up a pair of insurance runs in the final two frames.
"We got behind early and you can't do that on Friday," coach Darin Thomas said. "I had a feeling we were going to be a little down after playing well on Wednesday. We had bad at-bats, didn't play defense or pitch it at all."
Kadon Simmons (6-2) took his first loss since Opening Day on Feb. 19 after allowing six runs on nine hits, with a walk and two punch outs. He allowed just two runs in his final five frames before handing it over to the bullpen duo of Dylan Schneider and Logan Austin, who allowed two runs in the final three innings.
Meanwhile, the Warhawks used just a pair of arms on the night with Trey Auger earning his first win of the season in his first career start. The lefty kept the Mavs off balance all night long, allowing a pair of runs on six hits in 5.2 innings. Reliever Keller Bradford then tossed the final 3.1 innings of the game, allowing a single run, to earn his first save of the season.
Offensively, Matt McLean pushed his career-best hit streak to 13 games with a pair of singles and went 2-for-5 with a run. Brady Cox was an efficient 2-for-3 with a walk and a run.
Darien McLemore smashed his first home run of the season over the scoreboard in left field that cut into ULM's lead 7-3 in the eighth inning.
The Warhawk offense quickly put its bats to use for four runs on four hits in the top of the first inning, getting back-to-back doubles and a sac fly to do most of the damage.
UTA got one back in the bottom of the first with McLean starting the inning by immediately extending his streak with a leadoff single. Three batters later Colton Turner brought him in with a sacrifice fly into right field to cut the lead to 4-1.
ULM led off the third inning with its third double of the night, and converted that into a run on the next at-bat by a Jerame Littell fielding error at first base. The Warhawks padded the lead 6-1 in the sixth on the bases when Cox gunned down Kyle Schimpf trying to advance to second on a ball in the dirt, but allowing Danny Springer to make it home from third.
UTA answered with a run in the bottom of the inning as a Cox base hit gave the Mavs their first leadoff runner since the opening inning. Two batters later Quintin Rohrbaugh's fielder's choice forced a throwing error to first base to send Cox across to cut into ULM's lead 6-2. The rally continued with walks to Christian Hollie and Noah Vaughan, loading the bases and bringing Littell to the plate as the tying run; however, ULM went to the pen for Bradford who got Littell to hit into a fielder's choice to end the rally.
The Warhawks added a run apiece in both the eighth and ninth, and the UTA offense was not able to put anything together after a pair of runners reached with one out in the seventh in what would be the team's scoring threat of the evening aside from McLemore's solo shot in the eighth.
Game 2 of the series is set for 2 p.m. Saturday with the finale at 1 p.m. Sunday.
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