BATON ROUGE, La. - The 2018 season opened with a nail biter as Cy'Andria Newton's RBI double in the second was all that the pitching staff needed to top Syracuse, 1-0, on Friday at Tiger Park.
UT Arlington clinched the season-opening win to give first-year coach Peejay Brun her first win as the Maverick skipper. JoJo Valencia pitched 6.1 innings to take the win, while Randi Phillips closed things out with a save, inducing back-to-back outs with the bases loaded to clinch the game.
The Mavericks are back in action in the Tiger Classic when they take on tournament host No. 8 LSU at 5 p.m. on Friday evening on ESPN3.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Hits were at a premium for the Maverick offense to open the season. Whitney Walton provided the first base knock of the year in the first inning but was left stranded. It was Newton's double to left in the second that brought home Laura Curry, who had reached on a walk and stole second to get into scoring position.
From there it was all about the pitching staff as Valencia was able to squash any threat that Syracuse threw her way. She pitched out of a jam in the third with two in scoring position. Things got dicey once again in the sixth as back-to-back singles threatened to even the game, however, a pop out and ground out on back-to-back pitches sent things to the final frame.
After a fly out to left looked like things could go easily, two consecutive singles brought in Phillips to close things out. Phillips would give up a one-out infield single before she quieted the comeback bid with back-to-back outs to clinch the win.
LEADING THE MAVERICKS:
Valencia pitched 6.1 innings to improve to 1-0 on the season, she would give up nine hits but no runs, while striking out two... Phillips pitched just 0.2 innings, but earned the first save of the season without a blemish on the scorecard... UTA had four hits, joining Walton and Newton was Brittany Wyllie and Reagan Wright.
WHAT'S NEXT ON THE SLATE:
UTA gets a brief rest before returning to the diamond on Friday night to take on No. 8 LSU. The Mavs continue action on Saturday when they play a doubleheader with games against UMass and Southern Miss beginning at 9:30 a.m.
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