ARLINGTON, Texas -- Four relievers combined to throw seven consecutive shutout innings for UTA, leading the Mavs to a 3-2 win over No. 23 Texas A&M on Tuesday night, in front of the second-largest crowd in program history, 1,939 at Clay Gould Ballpark.
UTA (20-17) used a dynamic relief outing to post its first win over Texas A&M (26-12) since 2012 and its first win over the Aggies in Arlington since 2008. The Mavs fell behind after a two-run second inning for the Aggies, but got a run back in the bottom half of the frame and took a 3-2 lead with two in the third.
The Mavs then used the two-inning combination of Dylan Schneider, Austin Gardner (2-1) and Daniel James, with Trae Patterson firing a shutout seventh inning. UTA held the Aggies to just two hits and two walks over the final seven innings, striking out seven.
The win continues a blistering pace for the Mavs, who have climbed to half a game shy of first place in the Sun Belt Conference. UTA has won four of its first five conference weekends for the first time since 2005 and are off to its best start to conference play (10-5) since 2013. UTA faces a critical weekend series on Friday at ULM (5-10).
ON THE MOUND
UTA starter Jake Wilcox worked a pre-determined two-inning start, allowing four hits and two runs, fanning two.
Schneider took over to pitch in the third inning, tossing a pair of shutout innings, allowing just a hit and a walk. With a 3-2 lead, Gardner came on to start the fifth inning. Gardner fired two shutout innings, allowing just a walk with three strikeouts. Patterson started the seventh inning in relief, his first career relief outing after making nine straight weekend starts to open the year.
James came on for the final six outs, earning his ninth save of the year and the 12th of his career, allowing just a single and striking out two. James moves into third in UTA single-season history and fifth in career annals in saves.
Texas A&M starter Turner Larkins (0-1) worked four innings, allowing six hits and three runs - one earned - not issuing a walk and striking out five. John Doxakis came out of the bullpen to open the fifth inning for the Aggies, working 2.2 shutout innings, allowing only two hits and one walk, striking out three. Cason Sherrod got the final four outs, striking out three.
LEADING THE MAVS
UTA collected eight hits in the game, plating three runs and getting two walks. The Mavs got a three-hit game from Omar Salinas, who doubled for the seventh time in 2017. UTA also got hits from Zac Cook, Quintin Rohrbaugh, Brady Cox, Noah Vaughan and Aaron Funk. Colton Turner drove in a run and Cox drew a pair of walks.
HOW THEY SCORED
After a scoreless first inning, Texas A&M opened the second with back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners without an out. Jorge Gutierrez then pulled an RBI knock through the right side, scoring Nick Choruby. After the first out and a double steal, Walker Pennington scored Joel Davis with a RBI groundout.
The Mavs got a run back in the bottom of the second, getting a leadoff double from Cox. Vaughan moved Cox to third with one out and Turner scored him with a sacrifice fly.
UTA took the lead in the bottom of the third inning, getting Funk on after a misplayed grounder up the middle. After a pair of outs, Salinas reached on a slow-rolling infield single to put runners on the corners. A passed ball allowed Funk to score the tying run with two outs and two strikes on Rohrbaugh, with UTA's Rohrbaugh then ripping a two-out, RBI single to leftfield to score Salinas for a 3-2 UTA lead.
The Mavs will return to action on Friday with a three-game series opener at ULM. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. CT in Monroe, La.