April 25, 2010
ARLINGTON, Texas - Michael Choice went 3-for-5 and tied the UT Arlington all-time career home run record, launching the 31st of his career, in UTA's 9-6 victory over Central Arkansas Sunday afternoon at Clay Gould Ballpark. The victory marks the Mavericks first weekend series sweep of the season.
The Mavericks (20-21, 13-8 SLC) win their fifth consecutive conference game and sixth in a row against the Bears (12-27, 4-17 SLC) as they also swept UCA in Conway, Ark., last season in their first ever meeting.
"That's our first sweep of the season and I give our guys a lot of credit," UT Arlington head coach Darin Thomas said. "Logan (Bawcom) didn't have his best stuff today but he got us all the way to the eighth inning and Watson came in and did what he had to do. Those three wins get us back in the hunt in league play."
Catcher Chad Comer also went deep, hitting his fifth home run of the season, in the in the fourth inning. Comer went 2-for-4 and led all players with three RBI.
Junior right-handed pitcher Logan Bawcom (4-3) pitched 7.1 innings while scattering 11 hits and allowing five runs with four strikeouts in his sixth straight start pitching at least 7.0 innings.
Senior lefty Brian Watson pitched the final 1.2 innings to earn his first career save. Watson allowed one run on three hits after entering the game with the bases loaded and the Mavs leading 8-4 in the eighth inning.
Central Arkansas left-handed pitcher Chase Huchingson (1-3) was handed the loss pitching 4.0 innings and allowing five runs (three earned) on six base hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
Comer jump started the Mavericks with a two-out, two-run single up the middle in the first inning to score Choice and Steffan Guest, giving UTA a 2-0 advantage.
The Bears scored a run on catcher Michael Marietta's RBI single through the left side in the fourth, but UTA never trailed as they answered with three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Comer led off the inning with a home run to left field and an error by UCA second baseman Jordan Getchell allowed Jesse Payne to score after he reached base on a hit by pitch. Choice's single through the left side drove in left fielder Nick Orr who reached on a fielder's choice.
"Mike (Choice) made an adjustment after Friday night," Thomas said. "He quit trying to do too much and just went back to having a flat swing. He then had four or five solid base hits on the ground - and that is when he is at his best. When he gets pitches up he can drive them out, we saw that today, but he is at his best when he stays flat with his swing."
Bawcom was strong through the middle innings allowing just two base hits from the fifth to seventh inning.
The Mavericks added insurance runs in the seventh inning with two outs on an RBI single to center field from Brian Nephew and with a two-run double down the left-field line by second baseman Cody Dyvig.
Dyvig finished 2-for-4 with two RBI and right fielder Preston Beck added a two-hit game going 2-for-4. Beck has six multi-hit games in his last eight games played where he is batting .368 (14-for-38) during that span.
Choice, who leads the Southland Conference with a .406 batting average and 13 home runs, singled in the first and fourth innings before hitting his towering home run in the eighth.
The record-tying shot landed in the middle of a drive way across the street which sits beyond the left-field fence. Choice's home run went down the foul line and was estimated at landing over 100 feet past the fence that is marked 330-feet down the left-field foul line.
"It means everything," Choice said about the Mavericks getting the sweep. "Playing well heading towards the end of the season will help us secure a good seed for the conference tournament."
Choice ties the UTA all-time career home run record of 31 that was set by Matt Mize (1998-99). He has also now reached base in 53 consecutive games dating back to last season.
UT Arlington will play four consecutive road games next week, starting with a midweek game at Oklahoma State on Tuesday, April 27, at 6:30 p.m. at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium in Stillwater, Okla.