Feb. 25, 2018
ARLINGTON, Texas - It was a split on Sunday at Allan Saxe Field as UT Arlington topped DePaul 4-2 in eight innings, but fell to Sam Houston State 5-1 to close out the tournament.
Madison Miller knocked her first-career home run, a three-run shot to left, of her UTA career in Game 1 to help top the Blue Demons. The Mavericks closed the weekend at just 1-2, but are 7-6 overall as they head into their final nonconference tournament next weekend in a tournament hosted by North Texas in Denton.
"One of the big things we have to work on is that we stay focused for two games," UTA coach Peejay Brun said. "What we are seeing is we come out focused and fighting against the good team, and someone that isn't playing up to par we take them for granted and you can't do that. On one level it was good to learn that lesson to make sure we are playing against ourselves."
Miller finished with a team-high three RBI on the weekend as she had two hits and a run in seven plate appearances. For the freshman, it was an experience to not only see her first ball leave the park, but an opportunity to just help the team.
"It felt great," Miller said. "It was my first one of my career so it was pretty exciting. We were in the tie breaker and had runners on base and I just wanted to get something through the infield to do something for the team and just wanted to get it done for the team. It meant a lot because we made good adjustments against DePaul. We are just going to keep working on our game and stay within ourselves and take it one pitch at a time."
In Game 1, it was Kjirstyn Murphy that opened scoring with a two-out infield single to bring in Sandra Mendoza. The run seemed to be a sign that it would be an offensive battle, similar to Saturday's contest, however, leaving the bases loaded in the first, both teams would go scoreless in a pitcher's dual until the eighth.
UTA starter Randi Phillips settled in to give up just two hits after the first as she improved to 4-2 on the year. Phillips tossed all eight innings, being knocked with one earned run, while walking one.
In the eighth, the international tiebreaker gave a quick opportunity to plate a runner with a runner on second to open the inning. Following a walk, Miller sent the fifth pitch of the at-bat over the left-field fence.
"That was a great shot," Brun said. "She has been hitting the ball and seeing it really well. I knew it was going to be a matter of time as she has so much power so it was nice to finally get that one under her belt. When it is a freshman, you are always going to be happy for the first one they hit out. They get it out of the way and it was a great moment for Madison, especially being the game-winning hit for us."
Playing as the visiting team in the contest UTA had to survive a bottom half that saw DePaul strand two to end the game.
In Game 2, it was the Mavericks that got on the board first. UTA used a leadoff single to get things going as Laura Curry would eventually come home on a throwing error at home on a double steal. That would be all the offense UTA received.
The Bearkats picked up three runs in the fourth, and plated a single in both the sixth and seventh innings as UTA mustered just two hits in the finale.
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