April 22, 2012
By Luke Brietzke for UTAMavs.com
ARLINGTON, Texas – Twice on Sunday, Northwestern State had to choose whether to pitch to UT Arlington’s Preston Beck.
Twice in the Mavericks’ 8-6 win, the Demons’ decision ultimately backfired in the finale of the three-game series at Clay Gould Ballpark.
Beck blasted a three-run home run in the first when the Demons elected to go after the UTA right fielder. Then, in a tie game in the seventh, Northwestern State decided to pitch to Michael Guerra instead of Beck, who they pitched around and walked on four pitches.
Guerra responded by belting a two-run home run over the left-field fence, breaking a 6-6 tie and giving the Mavs a lead they would not relinquish.
“You have to have someone hitting well behind Beck,” UTA coach Darin Thomas said. “He’s been doing it all year and Jordan Vaughn’s done a good job as well. It’s been nice to see because we have some guys doing damage behind Preston.”
The win gave UT Arlington a critical sweep of the Demons. The two teams entered the weekend deadlocked in a tie for third place in the Southland Conference. The sweep puts the Mavs in a second-place tie with Southeastern Louisiana.
“To me that’s been the biggest key: Getting Adam back to where he is capable of pitching,” Thomas said. “He did it twice this weekend. It’s so big having him out there.”
Beck’s home run, a three-run shot over the right-field wall, marked his ninth of the season and drove his RBI total to 50.
Northwestern State scored all six runs in the third, taking advantage of two UT Arlington errors to post six runs and get into the UTA bullpen. Ryan Westbrook struck the big blow when his double off the top of the left-field wall scored a couple runs.
The Mavs got a run back in the fourth when Brent Bollinger dropped an RBI single into center to drive in Jake Pinchback. Ryan Walker’s RBI groundout and Derek Miller’s RBI single squared the game at 6.
UT Arlington touched up Northwestern State pitchers Joe Scanio and Mason Melotakis for eight runs.
“Those were two of the best arms in the conference and they are tough,” Thomas said. “I really give our guys credit.”