Comer's Game-Winning Homer Lifts Mavs in Series Opener
April 9, 2010
HAMMOND, La. - Chad Comer went 4-for-5 and hit the game-winning, two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning to give UT Arlington a 7-6 victory over No. 22 Southeastern Louisiana in front of 789 fans Friday night at Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field.
UT Arlington (15-15, 8-5 SLC) had 17 hits with every starter recording at least one while the Lions (24-7, 8-5 SLC) lose for just the third time (15-3) at home this season.
The victory was UT Arlington's first this season when trailing after eight innings and it marked the Mavs' first victory over a nationally-ranked opponent this season. UTA is now 9-15 against ranked opponents under third-year head coach Darin Thomas.
"It wasn't easy," Thomas said. "We very easily could have given up when we went down 5-2 but we didn't and we battled back and found a way to win. It came down to executing late in the game and we got the big hit with Chad's homer in the ninth."
Junior Garrett Laird (1-0) won his first game this season pitching a scoreless eighth inning and Logan Bawcom picked up his third save this year throwing a scoreless ninth inning. Bawcom ended the game with runners at first and second base while striking out Lions' pinch hitter Phillip Freeman on a 1-2 pitch.
After Southeastern Louisiana scored four runs off Maverick starting pitcher Jason Mitchell in the sixth to take a 5-2 lead, UT Arlington answered with back-to-back run scoring doubles by Steffan Guest and Comer in the seventh inning.
The Lions went back on top, 6-5, with a solo, lead-off homer in the seventh inning by shortstop Justin Boudreaux.
Mitchell exited the game after the seventh inning allowing six runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and three walks. He had a streak of three straight complete games snapped, but has now thrown at least 7.0 innings in seven straight starts dating back to his second start of the season.
"I really applaud Jason because from the start we knew he didn't have his best stuff tonight," Comer said. "But he still went out there every inning and really competed to keep us in this ballgame. The hitters also just kept making adjustments and just battled the entire game. It was a total team effort. We really competed as a team."
Mitchell also had his 14.0-inning scoreless streak broke when the Lions plated their first run of the game in the third inning.
With Southeastern Louisiana's closer Chris Franklin in the game for the ninth, freshman right fielder Preston Beck singled through the right side to lead off the inning for the Mavs.
Guest moved Beck to second base with a sacrifice bunt down the first base line that was fielded by Franklin as he tagged out Guest for the first out of the inning.
Comer saw just one pitch before hitting a 1-0 slider over the scoreboard behind the left field fence to give the Mavericks their fifth conference road victory of the season. It was Comer's third homer this season.
"I was sitting slider first pitch," Comer said. "The first pitch he threw was a fastball over my head. I knew he was going to throw that slider one of these times so I just got back in the box and didn't back off the plate any and he hung a slider on the next pitch and I just hit it well. It felt good."
UT Arlington first baseman Jordan Vaughn went 2-for-4 with two runs, Beck finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs, Guest drove in two while going 2-for-4 and shortstop Jesse Payne hit a double and went 3-for-5.
Preseason All-American Michael Choice went 1-for-4 and was intentionally walked in the fifth inning giving him seven intentional walks this season, which ties the all-time single season UTA record (Adam Moore, 2006). Choice has now reached base safely in 42 straight games dating back to last season.
Comer finished with his 10th multi-hit game of the season and with his second four-hit performance this year. The junior catcher scored one run with three RBI while going 4-for-5. Comer is now batting .361 with 24 RBI this season.
UT Arlington and No. 22 Southeastern Louisiana will continue its Southland Conference series with a 2 p.m. first pitch on Saturday at Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field.