May 23, 2003
MONROE, Louisiana...The University of Texas at Arlington staved off elimination by rebounding from an early morning loss to knock host Louisiana-Monroe out of the 2003 Southland Conference Tournament with a 6-4 victory Friday evening at Indian Field.
The Mavericks were pushed to the loser's bracket after suffering a 12-3 loss to McNeese State Friday morning. UTA will now meet the Cowboys for the SLC title with the Mavericks needing to win two games to win the championship.
ULM (29-28) got on the board in the top of the first inning as two singles and a base on balls loaded the bases with one out. Andy Chance plated a run with a fielder's choice to third base. UTA starter Charlie Coffey limited the damage to just one by getting the next player to ground out to third.
The Mavs (36-24) took the lead for good in the bottom of the second as Darrell Preston reached on a walk and Paul Bruder singled to center field. After an Aaron Batlle sacrifice bunt, Robby Deevers tied the game up with a single through the right side, putting runners on the corners. With two outs, the second base umpire called a balk on ULM starting pitcher Michael Durham allowing the second run of the inning to score.
ULM threatened to take the lead in the third as they loaded the bases with one out, before Coffey enticed a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Andy Chance to end the threat and the inning.
UTA added to its lead in the third inning as Ryan Roberts started things with a base on balls, chasing Durham from the game. Hunter Pence greeted ULM reliever Eddie Hymel with a double down the left field line to score Roberts from first. A Preston fly out to center field moved Pence to third. Paul Bruder scored Pence with a single through the left side.
The Indians used a single and a couple of wild pitches to mover a runner to third base before a fielder's choice plated the run.
ULM crept to within one run in the seventh inning as Jack Skaggs hit a one out double down the left field line and came into score on a single by catcher Joey Wolfe.
UTA quickly answered the bell as Baker and Taylor drew back-to-back one out walks. Roberts made them pay as he collected his third hit of the game through the left side to score Baker. After a Pence walk loaded the bases, Preston delivered a sacrifice fly to score Taylor from third.
The Indians got one run in the ninth on a solo homer by Al Hayward, but UTA closer Mike Snapp came in and shut down the Indians on the evening and end their season.
One day after getting a no decision in a start against the Indians last night, Pierce Loveless (5-3) picked up the victory by pitching 4.1 innings in relief, allowing only two runs, one earned, on three hits with four strikeouts. In the game, Loveless became just the fourth Maverick pitcher to surpass the 200 strikeout mark and now has 202 strikeouts in his career. Durham (0-2) took the loss by allowing three earned runs on three hits in two innings of work. Snapp earned his sixth save of the season by pitching two-thirds of an inning, getting a groundout and strikeout to end the game.
Roberts led the offense with a 3-for-3 day at the plate, including two doubles and his single season tying 66th run batted in. He now has 96 hits on the season and is closing in on the SLC record for hits in a season. Roberts has raised his average to .432 on the season and is 9-for-11 in his last three games and has reached safely in nine straight plate appearances.