April 23, 2010
ARLINGTON, Texas - Jordan Vaughn's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 13th inning gave UT Arlington a 4-3 victory over Central Arkansas in the Southland Conference series opener Friday at Clay Gould Ballpark.
The Mavericks (18-21, 11-8 SLC), who trailed 3-2 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, were guided into extra-innings by Vaughn's RBI single to right field to score the game-tying run as the Bears (12-25, 4-15 SLC) let their lead slip away.
Brian Watson was dominating in relief of UTA starting pitcher Jason Mitchell. Mitchell lasted 8.0 innings and struck out 12 batters. Watson finished the game on the hill for the Mavericks tossing 5.0 innings of near perfection, as the only base runner he allowed reached base due to a fielding error.
Watson sat the Bears down in order in the ninth, 10th, 11th and 13th innings while what would have been the third out in the 12th inning reached on a fielding error, but then Watson retired the next batter on a swinging strikeout.
The victory was the Mavericks second this season when trailing after eight innings, with the first coming in a 7-6 win in game one of the Southeastern Louisiana series (4/9).
Central Arkansas scored a run in the top of the first inning on an RBI double by first baseman Clay Washington and later UTA took the lead on a pair of sacrifice flies by Cody Dyvig and Jesse Payne in the fifth inning to give the Mavs a 2-1 lead.
That lead didn't last long as the Bears regained the lead scoring two runs on a pair of hits in the top of the sixth inning to grab a 3-2 lead.
Mitchell allowed three runs (two earned) on nine hits with three walks in the contest. It was Mitchell's second game this season with double-figure strikeouts as he notched 12 (six swinging) on 140 total pitches. It was Mitchell's eighth start this season where he pitched at least 7.0 innings.
Central Arkansas starting pitcher Bobby Pritchett held the Mavs to just two base hits entering the ninth inning before the Mavericks sent the game into extra-innings.
Pritchett recorded the first out in the ninth inning on one pitch as right fielder Preston Beck flew out to left field. He struck out catcher Chad Comer on a 1-and-2 pitch to put the Bears an out away from the series-opening victory.
Designated hitter Steffan Guest started the rally with a double to center field. Pinch runner Bryant Lopez entered the game for Guest and scored four pitches later on a 1-and-2 pitch to Vaughn who singled to right field, which scored Lopez. Vaughn ended up at third base on the play due to a fielding error by right fielder Jake Fuller.
Pritchett left the game after giving up Vaughn's single as the Bears then got out of the frame a batter later as reliever Michael Wild got third baseman Brian Nephew to ground out to shortstop Kyle Prevett.
Neither team scored in the following three innings as the Mavericks had possible scoring threats in each inning as they left at least one runner in scoring position in the 10th, 11th and 12 innings.
UTA came through in the bottom of the 13th as designated hitter Shane Hopkins - who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the 11th inning with a double to left-center field- reached base on a four-pitch walk.
With Vaughn at the plate and one out, Hopkins stole second base and advanced to third base on a throwing error by UCA catcher Michael Marietta. Vaughn, with a 0-and-2 count, then delivered the game-winning, walk-off sacrifice fly to right field.
Guest led the Mavericks going 2-for-4 and Vaughn was the only player with a multiple RBI game going 1-for-4 with a pair of RBI.
Michael Choice reached base three times with a walk in the first inning and with intentional walks in the 10th and 12th innings. Choice has now reached base safely in 51 consecutive games dating back to last season. He leads the country with 52 walks and now has 13 intentional walks this season.
Nephew went 0-for-4 in the game to have his career-high eight-game hit streak come to an end.
Watson improved to 2-1 on the season as he struck out five batters on only 52 pitches in his 5.0 innings of work. Wild (2-6) took the loss as he pitched 4.0 innings and allowed one run (unearned) on two hits with four walks and two strikeouts.
UT Arlington and Central Arkansas will resume its Southland Conference series on Saturday with a 2 p.m. first pitch scheduled for Clay Gould Ballpark in Arlington.