May 13, 2008
ARLINGTON, Texasa - - UT Arlington freshman outfielder Michael Choice continued to smack the baseball, and Matt Otteman turned in another solid pitching performance as the Maverick pounded Texas A&M, 16-8, on Tuesday at Clay Gould Ballpark.
Choice went 4-for-4 with a three-run homer - his team-high seventh this season - in the bottom of the fourth inning to break a 2-2 tie. His single through the right side in the bottom of the fifth drove in two more and continued a four-run fifth inning that put UTA up, 9-2. Choice tied his career-high with five runs batted in and added a double off the left-field wall in the bottom of the eighth for good measure.
The victory was the third consecutive for UTA (23-29) against nationally-ranked oppenents from the Big 12 Conference since knocking off Oklahoma State and Texas back-to-back on April 15 and April 16. Otteman earned the victory in the Oklahoma State game as well. For Texas A&M (42-11), the loss was its third consecutive since losing the final two games of a weekend Big 12 series against Nebraska.
Despite its No. 7 ranking in the latest Collegiate Baseball Magazine poll, Otteman sliced through the Aggies lineup through the first six innings without much trouble, using a solid fastball and effective slider. Still holding a 9-2 lead, he ran into trouble in the seventh, allowing the first two runners to get on board with a walk, double and walk with only one out.
One run came home on a fielder's choice grounder to third, and UTA looked to left-hander Adam Boydston to get out of the jam. Boydston allowed a single to make it 9-4, but forced a grounder to second to end the inning.
In front of a season-high crowd of 1,213, Otteman (4-3) got some pretty good defense behind him and finished with 6 2/3 innings pitched and seven hits allowed. He struck out five.
UTA got 10 hits off four Texas A&M pitchers by the end of the fifth inning and finished with 14 in the game. Texas A&M closed the gap to 13-7 on a pinch-hit three-run homer by Daman Aaron in the top of he eighth, but UTA answered with three in the bottom of the inning.
Carson Middleton (4-1) took the loss for the Aggies.
UTA returns to Clay Gould Ballpark on Thursday for a crucial three-game series against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to end the regular season. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. The teams play again at 6:30 p.m. Friday and end the regular season schedule with a 1 p.m. game on Saturday.