May 21, 2003
MONROE, Louisiana...The University of Texas at Arlington baseball team could advantage of a costly mistake in center field in the ninth inning to defeat Northwestern State, 4-3, in the first round of the 2003 Southland Conference Tournament at Indian Field.
After an unsuccessful hit-and-run play erased the Mavericks leadoff runner and a groundout left the bases empty with two outs, it seemed the game was headed to extra innings. Paul Bruder hit the ball to center field and NWLa. center fielder Josh Boop unnecessarily dove for the ball and missed, allowing Bruder to turn a single into a triple. With two strikes, center fielder Robby Deevers hit a slow roller to the Demon shortstop Scott Pittenger, who could not come up with the ball cleanly allowing the winning run to score on the error.
The Demons (35-21) jumped all over the Mavs in the first inning as Tigger Lyles singled through the left side and stole second as Michael Palermo went down on strikes. Boop made UTA pay as he doubled down the line to score the first run of the game. Anatole Vincent followed with a RBI single to right field and went to second when Bruder's throw got past the catcher. With two outs, Steve Adams plated the third run of the inning with a single back up the middle.
The Mavericks (34-23) quickly responded in the home half of the first as Kasey Baker started things the hard wall by being hit near the back of the head with a pitch. With one out, Ryan Roberts doubled to straight away center field. With two outs, Chris Taylor blooped a single in shallow center field allowing both runners to score. Darrell Preston tied the game up on the next pitch with a double down the right field line, but was thrown out at third trying to advance on the throw.
NWLa. threatened to break the game open in the seventh inning as they loaded the bases with two outs, but the Mavericks went to closer Mike Snapp who calmly got Vincent to foul out to the first baseman Preston to keep the game all tied up.
Snapp and the Mavericks dodged another bullet in the eighth inning as the Demons put runners on first and second with only one out. Brandon Hobbs stepped up to the plate just a homer shy of the single, but did not come through as Snapp enticed a 6-4-3 double play to send the game to the bottom of the eighth still tied at three.
UTA threatened in the home half of the eighth inning as Baker reached on an error by the third baseman. After a failed sac bunt attempt, Roberts flew out to the wall in right field. Hunter Pence followed by hitting the first pitch of the at-bat just foul over the left field wall. Pence would eventually ground out to end the inning and the threat.
Another Demon rally was thwarted in the ninth as a leadoff single by Pittenger and sacrifice bunt put a runner on second with one out. A diving stop off the bat of Michael Palermo by the second baseman Taylor recorded the second out of the inning and save the go ahead run from scoring. Charlie Coffee came out of the pen and got Boop to fly out to right field on the first pitch.
Charlie Coffey (7-4) picked up the victory picked up the victory by enticing a fly out on the only pitch her threw in the game. Josh Dencausse (4-2) was the tough luck loser as he allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits in 8.2 innings of work.
Taylor and Preston each collected two hits for the Mavericks while Taylor knocked in two runs and Preston one.
The Mavericks return to action tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. in the winners bracket of the SLC Tournament. UTA will play the winner of Louisiana-Monroe and Southwest Texas.