May 3, 2009
ARLINGTON, Texas - UT Arlington finished its sweep over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi with a 14-4, seven-inning rule-rule victory while securing a spot in the Southland Conference Tournament on Sunday afternoon at Clay Gould Ballpark in Arlington. Senior Andrew Kainer entered the SLC record books in the third inning with a double to left field, improving his hit streak to 34 games, which ties the all-time SLC record that was previously set in 1996 by Brett Lockwood from Nicholls.
UT Arlington is now in sole possession of third place in the SLC with a 17-10 conference mark and equals the 2008 Maverick season win total while improving to 26-21 overall. The Mavericks finished last season 26-31 overall and went 16-14 in the SLC. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is now 17-33 overall and 8-19 in the SLC.
"I'm very proud of the fact we got into the (SLC) playoffs," head coach Darin Thomas said. "That is two years in a row for us and a positive step forward. Hopefully we can continue playing well going into the playoffs."
The Mavericks earned their fourth SLC series sweep of the season on Sunday in large part to a nine-run third inning that saw UT Arlington record eight straight hits to start the inning. The Mavs hit three homers in the inning, highlighted by sophomore Michael Choice's second grand slam of the season.
Every Maverick with a plate appearance recorded a base hit while seven UT Arlington players recorded a multi-hit game. The middle of the Mavericks batting order - Choice, Matt Otteman and Kainer - went a combined 8-for-12 with six runs, seven RBI and two home runs.
Kainer tied the Southland Conference hit-streak record in the third inning, but wasn't finished for the day also adding a single to left in the fourth and a two-run homer to left field - his fifth of the season - in the sixth inning.
"I think it is amazing," Kainer said of tying the conference record. "It is being in elite company because there have been thousands of players that have come through this conference and there have only been two that have had 34-game hit streaks. It is something I'm very proud of and hopefully I can keep it going and be alone at the top."
Kainer has batted .439 (61-for-139) during his streak with 27 runs, 17 doubles, three home runs, 12 stolen bases and 30 RBI.
"It is a great accomplishment," Thomas said about Kainer tying the SLC record. "Hopefully he can get one more and break that record and if he doesn't it is still a great accomplishment."
Choice, who batted .636 with two homers and eight RBI in the series, continued to swing a hot bat going 3-for-5 with five RBI while launching his second grand slam of the season to jump start the Mavs in their nine-run second inning.
"It is good that we played well coming off that bad series last weekend," Choice said. "This was great to get our bats going again, it will really help our pitching which has been good all season."
Junior Jason Mitchell was the winning pitcher in a six-inning outing. Mitchell struck out six, walked two and allowed seven hits with two walks.
The Mavericks 20 base hits, four home runs and 38 total bases were season-highs during SLC competition. Chad Comer hit his first home run of the season in the third inning and Putman hit his first homer of the season, also in the third. In addition, Putman and Pitschka each recorded two base hits in the Mavericks' third inning.
UT Arlington will close its four-game homestand on Tuesday, May 5, hosting ninth-ranked Oklahoma for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch at Clay Gould Ballpark.
BSB: Seventh Inning Dooms Mavs in Sun Belt Championships
BSB: Mavs Open Sun Belt Championship with Arkansas State
BSB: Sun Belt Championships Washed Out, Again
BSB: Darin Thomas Named Sun Belt Coach of the Year
BSB: Mavs Earn No. 2 Seed in Sun Belt Championship
BSB: Texas State Claims Series Finale in 10