ARLINGTON, Texas -- UTA baseball got strong relief outings from Andrew Gross, Logan Austin and Daniel James to post an 11-2 win over Arkansas State in the series rubber match, on Sunday afternoon at Clay Gould Ballpark.
UTA (18-17, 9-6 Sun Belt Conference) claimed the series deciding game in the finale and improved to 7-2 in home conference games. The Mavs now sit a half game shy of Little Rock (9-5) for first place in the Sun Belt Western Division.
The Mavs fell behind after a pair of solo homers opened the scoring in the top of the first inning but answered with 11 unanswered runs, including single tallies in the second and third, a two-run frame in the sixth and a four-run inning in the eighth.
LEADING THE MAVS
UTA's offense erupted for 14 hits and seven runs in the win. Josh Minjarez went 3-for-5 with a double, with Christian Hollie collecting a pair of doubles. Freshman David Renning also had two hits, including a double, with Will Olson, Noah Vaughan, Jakob Nunez, Aaron Funk and Easton Johnson each collecting a hit.
ON THE MOUND
UTA starter Ka'ikepono Anderson took a no decision in his eighth start of the year. Anderson fired 4.2 innings, allowing four hits and two runs - both coming on the solo homers in the first inning - walking two and striking out four.
Andrew Gross came on to strand an inherited runner in the fifth inning and worked six outs, allowing two hits and striking out one. After a two-out runner reached scoring position in the seventh, UTA called on junior Logan Austin in relief, with Austin working out of the jam and getting three outs before Daniel James retired the final hitter in the eighth. James got the final three outs to earn his fifth save of the year and the 21st of his career.
Arkansas State (12-19, 4-10 Sun Belt) starter Payton Culbertson (1-3) worked six innings, allowing nine hits and four runs, walking two and striking out five. Coulton Lee, Bo Ritter, Payton Lannon and Tanner Kirby each worked in relief.
The Mavs will return to action on Tuesday, hosting Dallas Baptist at 6:30 p.m. CT at Clay Gould Ballpark. The game will be broadcast live on UTAMavs.com, with the Voice of the Mavs, Josh Sours, calling the action.
HOW THEY SCORED
Drew Tipton got the RedWolves on the board in the first at-bat of the game, belting a 1-1 offering over the leftfield fence for his first homer of the year. After an out, Kyle MacDonald belted his fifth homer of the year, over the trees beyond the rightfield fence.
In the bottom of the second inning, Hollie led off with a first-pitch double down the leftfield line, his 11th of the year. After a deep fly out from Vaughan moved Hollie to third, Renning legged out a slow roller in the infield to get the Mavs on the board.
Hollie led off the bottom of the sixth inning with his second double of the game, pulled down the left line. After a walk and a wild pitch pushed runners to the corners, Jakob Nunez hung a sacrifice fly to left, allowing Hollie to score. Renning then lined a double down the leftfield line to push Noah Vaughan, who walked, to third with one out. Funk then lined a 1-1 pitch into shallow left to score Vaughan for a two-run lead.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Vaughan and Nunez led off with singles to rightfield and Renning loaded the bases with a walk. Phi Berthiaume scored Vaughan with a sac fly, with pinch runner Phillip Childs scoring on a wild pitch. Johnson followed to score Renning with a single into centerfield and after a knock from Cook, Minjarez singled through the left side to allow Johnson to motor home. Hollie's third double scored Cook and Minjarez for a 10-2 lead. Vaughan then doubled into the gap to score Hollie.
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