BASEBALL TEAM IS ONE VICTORY AWAY FROM SERIES SWEEP AGAINST MCNEESE
April 12, 2008
LAKE CHARLES, La. - - UT Arlington's offense pounded out 14 hits and, more importantly, answered every McNeese State rally attempt as the Mavericks battled to a 10-8 victory in a Southland Conference game Saturday afternoon at Cowboy Diamond in Lake Charles, La.
UTA let a 6-1 lead slip to 6-5. The Mavericks offense responded with two runs, capped by a run-scoring Ryan Davis single.
McNeese then cut it to 8-7. UTA answered with two more on a Danny Slinkman double to make it 10-7 in the seventh.
From there, it was up to freshman left-hander Adam Boydston to maintain order after relieving starter Nathan Long in the fifth. Boydston (1-0) got the victory by pitching 4 1/3 innings and allowing just two earned runs while striking out three. Marcus Limon (3) relieved Boydston, and got the final out for the save.
With the victory, UTA (14-20, 7-7 in the SLC) has now won five of its past six Southland Conference games. McNeese State (10-24, 5-9), which earned a three-game SLC sweep in mid-March against Nicholls State, have dropped six of eight since that series.
The Mavericks go for the sweep at 1 p.m. Sunday.
"We did just enough good things to win, and it's encouraging that the three guys who really helped us the most are freshman," UTA coach Darin Thomas said. "This has been a tough place to play for a lot of teams, so to come out with two wins in the first two days is a nice thing for our club."
UTA set the game's tone early behind the hitting of junior right-fielder Matt Otteman and freshman catcher Chad Comer. They combined to go 5-for-5 in the first five plate appearances. Comer had a bases-clearing double and four runs batted in.
UTA struck with four runs in the second, and although Comer delivered a bases-loaded, two-out hard shot to right field that bounced off the wall just inside the foul marker, Otteman could easily be considered the hero of the inning for keeping it going.
Otteman got it started with a single and moved to second on a ground-out by Preston McCoy.
Jay Pitschka walked to put runners on first and second.
That's when Otteman came up with a base-running gem. Davis hit a line shot to shortstop, and while running to third, Otteman hesitated between the ball and shortstop Shon Landry. The move shielded Landry long enough that he didn't see the ball in time and missed it to his left. That loaded the bases for Comer, who made it 3-0 on his long fly off the wall to right. Otteman admitted that the ball was hit so hard that his hesitation had nothing to do with strategy, but either way, it was good for the Mavericks.
UTA still wasn't finished. A bobbled, bases-loaded grounder by Michael Choice made it 4-0 before McNeese State starting right-handed pitcher Scott Holstein (1-3) got out of the inning.
To make matters worse for McNeese State, Otteman's one-out single to start the inning should have never happened. He popped up behind the plate, but catcher Taylor Freeman couldn't make the play.
UTA added two runs in the third, getting four singles in the inning and McNeese State's second error to take a 6-1 lead. By the end of UTA's half of the third inning, eight of nine Maverick batters had reached base.
From there, it was up to UTA starter Nathan Long to hold things steady.
Long allowed two runs in the third, then ran into trouble in the fourth when McNeese State loaded the bases on a hit batter and consecutive two-out singles. Long then hit Josh Cholley to keep the threat going and cut the Mavericks lead to 6-4. Long got out of the inning when Shon Landry hit a roller to third, which was fielded perfectly by Mavericks third baseman Ryan Davis to end the inning and strand three runners.
Nick Eubanks then made it 6-5 on a solo homer to right in the fifth. After a single by Keith Patnode, that was the end of Long's day. Boydston (1-0) entered with one on and one out. After giving up a hard single to left, he got Kanon Broussard to hit a liner to McLeod, who caught it and stepped on second base for the double play to end the inning.