May 24, 2012
SAN MARCOS, Texas - Another day of solid starting pitching and timely hitting lifted UT Arlington to a 10-5 Southland Conference Tournament victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Thursday afternoon at Bobcat Ballpark.
The Mavericks (34-23) are 2-0 in the double-elimination tournament with either Sam Houston (1-1) or A&M-Corpus Christi (1-1) up next Friday at 4 p.m. The Bearkats and Islanders face off Friday morning at 9 a.m. for the right to play UTA.
The Mavericks would clinch a spot playing for the SLC title and the automatic NCAA playoff berth that goes with it on Saturday with another victory Friday afternoon.
UTA catcher Greg McCall swung a big stick. The sophomore smashed a home run, added a double and totaled three RBI. Preston Beck also drove in three. Travis Sibley, Jake Pinchback and Matt Shortall each scored twice for the Mavericks.
UTA recovered from an early 1-0 deficit with three runs in the top of the third. Sibley and Pinchback walked to lead off the inning, bringing up Ryan Walker.
The sophomore shortstop laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt that Islanders pitcher Trevor Foss threw into the right-field bullpen area in foul ground. Sibley would score, with Pinchback getting to third base and Walker winding up at second.
Pinchback and Walker would both scores on consecutive RBI groundouts by Preston Beck and Michael Guerra. UTA starter John Beck (3-1) would hold the lead for the next four innings before departing in the seventh in favor of reliever Adam Westbrook.
"We took advantage and got some key hits with the wind blowing out," UT Arlington coach Darin Thomas said. "We had to answer because they jumped on us and John (Beck) did a nice job of minimizing the damage after the first inning. Once we got the lead, I thought we did a good job of building on it."
The Mavericks piled on four more runs in the fourth, giving Beck all the cushion he would need. McCall's two-run homer to right-center - just his second long ball this season - scored Shortall. Conference RBI leader Preston Beck plated Sibley and Pinchback with a bases-loaded single to left.
"His home run I thought was the big hit and then followed that up with the double," Thomas said of McCall. "He has ran into some tough luck hitting this year, so it was good to see a couple balls fall for him."
The Islanders took the game's first lead, getting an unearned run home thanks to a sacrifice fly in the first inning. A&M-Corpus Christi took advantage of a bobbled grounder by Sibley to get Jordan Lee to third.
"I had a rough first inning," John Beck said. "It’s a little different mound but I figured it out. I got the first out of the second inning, and I was on a roll from there. They hit a few home runs off me but in this park the wind blows out 24/7. It’s not an easy pitcher’s park. Everybody in our lineup I have trust in and every pitcher that comes in I have trust in."
The Islanders added runs in the third, fourth and eighth innings via solo home runs. Westbrook was pulled with two outs in the eighth for Michael Morales after giving up a run-scoring single. Adam Boydston pitched a perfect ninth for UTA.
SLC Tournament Schedule
Wednesday, May 23
Game 1: No. 4 UT Arlington 6, No. 5 McNeese State 2
Game 2: No. 8 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 9, No. 1 Sam Houston State 2
Game 3: No. 3 Texas State 11, No. 6 Stephen F. Austin 1 (7 innings)
Game 4: No. 2 Southeastern Louisiana 6, No. 7 Central Arkansas 3
Thursday, May 24
Game 5: No. 1 Sam Houston State 7, No. 5 McNeese State 1 (Cowboys eliminated)
Game 6: No. 6 Stephen F. Austin 7, No. 7 Central Arkansas 2 (Bears eliminated)
Game 7: No. 4 UT Arlington 10, No. 8 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 5
Game 8: No. 3 Texas State vs. No. 2 Southeastern Louisiana (H), 7 p.m.
Friday, May 25
Game 9: No. 8 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi vs. No. 1 Sam Houston State (H), 9 a.m.
Game 10: Loser Game 8 vs. No. 6 Stephen F. Austin, Noon
Game 11: Winner Game 7 vs. No. 4 UT Arlington (H), 4 p.m.
Game 12: Winner Game 8 vs. Winner Game 10, 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 26
~#Game 13: Loser Game 11 vs. Winner Game 11, 9 a.m.
^#Game 14: Loser Game 12 vs. Winner Game 12, 1 p.m.
+Championship: Winner Game 13 vs. Winner Game 14, 1 or 5 p.m.
~ Game 13 will be necessary if the winner of Game 9 also wins Game 11; ^ Game 14 will be necessary if the winner of Game 10 also wins Game 12; # If only one of the two early games is necessary on Saturday, it will be played at 1 p.m., with the Championship Game starting at 5 p.m.; + If both bracket winners are undefeated, the championship game will be played on Saturday at 1 p.m.