May 8, 2010
ARLINGTON, Texas - Stephen F. Austin scored 10 runs in the final two innings to snap UT Arlington's nine-game conference win streak - one shy of the school record - with a 14-9 victory on Saturday at Clay Gould Ballpark in game-two of the Southland Conference series.
UT Arlington (25-23, 17-9 SLC) also had its five-game win streak come to an end, despite all nine starting position players finishing with at least one base hit. Stephen F. Austin (31-13, 17-8 SLC) now moves back ahead of the Mavericks into second place in the conference standings, just a half game in front of UTA.
Mavericks starting pitcher Rett Varner looked poised to win his seventh game of the season holding a 6-4 lead in the top of the eighth inning with two outs. But that is when the Lumberjacks exploded for 10 runs on nine hits in the final 1.2 innings of the game.
Varner finished with his second no-decision of the season in a 7.2 innings start where he allowed six runs (five earned) on eight base hits with eight strikeouts and only one walk allowed.
The big blow came on a two-run, game-winning homer by right fielder Justin Long in the ninth inning to give SFA a 10-9 lead. Long, who entered the game as a defensive replacement in the eighth, was the third consecutive SFA batter to collect an extra-base hit in the inning, following a lead-off triple to right-center by Jordan Lewis and a double down the left-field line by Michael Haynes.
Long's homer gave the Lumberjacks all they needed after the Mavericks went down in order in the ninth.
UT Arlington left-handed reliever Brian Watson (2-2) was handed the loss. Watson allowed the triple by Lewis and the double by Haynes before exiting the game.
Stephen F. Austin reliever Jason West (4-4), who was the losing pitcher in game-one of the series on Friday, earned the win pitching 1.1 innings while allowing three base hits and one run (unearned) with two strikeouts.
UT Arlington was led by All-American Michael Choice who hit his conference-leading 15th home run of the season, which went off the top of the UTA brag board in right-center field for a three- run homer in the second inning. The home run was estimated at over 410 feet. Choice also reached base in the first with a hit by pitch and in the fourth inning with his 63rd walk of the season - which currently leads the nation. Choice has now reached base safely in 60 consecutive games dating back to last season.
Choice went 1-for-3 with two runs and three RBI while Steffan Guest went 2-for-5, Jesse Payne went 2-for-2 with two runs and three walks and Cody Dyvig had a two-hit game going 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored.
After SFA took its first lead of the game after a four-run eighth inning, giving the Lumberjacks an 8-6 lead, UTA regained the lead and the game's momentum with three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning.
With two outs and a runner at first base in the eighth, UTA right fielder Preston Beck walked on a full-count before catcher Chad Comer doubled down the left field line to score Choice (reached base on a fielder's choice) and Beck to tie the score at eight.
The next batter, Guest gave the lead back to the Mavericks with an RBI single through the left side to score Comer, giving UTA a 9-8 advantage heading into the top of the ninth.
That is when three Maverick relievers combined to allow six runs (four earned) on six base hits in the ninth inning to even the series at a game apiece.
The two teams combined to use 11 pitchers in the game while both teams' defenses also tallied six errors in the contest.
The rubber game of the series will be played Sunday, May 9, with a 1 p.m. first pitch at Clay Gould Ballpark.