May 23, 2012
SAN MARCOS, Texas – Michael Guerra drove in three and drilled his second home run of the season, as No. 4 seed UT Arlington opened the Southland Conference Tournament with a 6-2 victory over No. 5 McNeese State on Wednesday morning at Bobcat Ballpark.
The Mavericks (33-23) moved into the winners' game on their side of the bracket and will face Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 4 p.m. Thursday. Complete coverage of the SLC Tournament is available at southland.org.
UTA starter Lance Day worked into the eighth inning, improving to 11-3. He allowed two runs on six hits, striking out five and walking two.
"We played really well today," UT Arlington coach Darin Thomas said. "Lance gave us his typical competitive outing, Adam Boydston gave us what he's given us lately, and we swung the bat and it's good to see Guerra popping the ball a little bit."
The Mavericks appeared to have something cooking when Jake Pinchback led off the Mavericks' first at-bat with a double into the left-center gap. Pinchback was erased at third on a fielder's choice that put Ryan Walker on base.
Walker would come around to score on Guerra's two-out double down the left-field line. Travis Sibley plated Jordan Vaughn with a single in the second and Guerra added a solo shot to left in the third.
Guerra nearly parked another in the seventh, as his double hit just inches below the yellow line at the top of the wall in left and scored Preston Beck. Sibley brought home another insurance run with the eighth with a double to score Vaughn again. Sibley would then scamper home on a wild pitch.
"We had a game plan against (Cowboys starter Blake Ware," said Guerra, who was 4 for 4. "We faced him two weeks ago and we all knew what to do against him."
The run support was plenty for Day. The righty worked out of trouble in the second, as the Cowboys put two runners in scoring position with one out. The senior ace buckled down with strikeout and a ground out to get out of the inning unscathed.
McNeese State did get on the board in the fourth thanks to a two-run homer by Nick Eubanks. Day, though, kept the Cowboys at bay from there, finishing his morning outing with three consecutive scoreless innings before being relieved by Boydston in the eighth.
"Offense played well, we got on base and we found a way to win," Day said. "Once we got a 3-0 lead, I wanted to keep the ball down because we would score more runs. I had one bad pitch, but I knew (Boydston) needed one more save, so I got the ball to him in the eighth."
Boydston worked the final two innings to record his eighth save, setting a new career UTA career record in the process with 24. Mike Snapp (2001-04) had the previous save record with 23.
Boydston, a senior, tied Snapp's mark on Saturday in UTA's final home game.
"It's hard to put into words," Boydston said when asked about the significance of the record. "The feel from last Saturday until today is immeasurable. To tie the record at home and then to break it here against a team I got two losses against in one day is great. But to win this first game is more important than saves."