April 27, 2012
NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Lance Day was given a lead and made sure not to give it back, as UT Arlington fought past Stephen F. Austin 4-2 Friday afternoon at Jaycees Field.
The Mavericks once again got off to a strong start in a Southland Conference series. UTA claimed a league series opener for fifth consecutive time, improving to 27-15 overall and 14-8 in conference.
"That takes a little pressure off," UT Arlington coach Darin Thomas said. "You just have to win one out of the next two to win the series. It's not going to be easy, but when you win that first one it sure makes the weekend a lot better."
The Lumberjacks dropped to 16-26 and 9-13. The series continues Saturday with a 2 p.m. start, with Sunday's finale getting underway with a 1 p.m. first pitch.
The Mavericks prevailed despite the dangerous combination of Day putting people on base and the offense leaving people on base. Day, though, maneuvered around some sticky situations to nearly go the distance and UTA did just enough on the basepaths.
Day continues to show why he's the ace of the staff. The senior righty improved to a SLC-best 9-1 by throwing seven shutout innings after SFA scored in the first.
Day came within a batter of going the distance before being pulled in favor of Michael Morales with two on and two out in the ninth. Morales nailed down his second save after facing two batters.
Day found himself in serious trouble in the first two innings, but escaped giving up just one run. The Lumberjacks scored on a sacrifice fly in the first before leaving the bases loaded. SFA also loaded them up in the second without getting anyone home.
"The big play of the game was double-play where (Preston Beck) threw (SFA runner Bryce Cummings) out at the plate and they didn't score on bases-loaded nobody out," Thomas said, referring to the second inning.
Working out of trouble paid off and keeping the game close paid off. The Mavericks finally got on the board in the fifth, scratching across a run on Derek Miller's two-out base hit to score Brent Bollinger.
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