ARLINGTON, Texas - UTA couldn't find an answer for Georgia Southern starting pitcher Dixie Raley, as the Eagles took the rubber match 8-0 in six innings on Sunday at Allan Saxe Field.
The Mavericks, falling to 17-15 and 3-6 in the Sun Belt, were unable to replicate their offense from Game 2 against the GS starter. The Mavs picked up their first hit off the bat of Mallory Foster in the fifth. Georgia Southern improved to .500 for the season at 15-15 and went to 5-4 in league play.
"We have a really inconsistent situation with our pitching staff that needs to be handled immediately," UTA coach Kristie Fox said. "At the plate, that was the freshman of the year of the conference right there, she is tough but we need to make them work harder. You have to be able to win a 1-0 game every once in awhile, when you aren't performing on the mound and defensively it makes it hard to do that."
UTA will take a brief break from league play on Wednesday when it hosts North Texas for the final game of March. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. at Allan Saxe Field.
"Getting run-ruled twice by Georgia Southern should light a fire under them no matter what," Fox said. "We are about to hit the road twice so it is going to be even tougher on the road than it is at home. They have to compete and start taking it personally and we talk about it all the time. This group is so talented but are just missing something inside. They have to choose whether they are going to find it or not."
Sam Montes claimed the loss after pitching four frames. Montes allowed just three runs, two earned, struck out one, walked one and allowed eight hits. Mariah Denson pitched the final two, giving up five runs, four earned, and two hits. Foster claimed the lone hit on the day for UTA, while Cy'Andria Newton also reached on a walk.
"At the end of the day, it is what it is," Montes said. "We have to keep practicing and keep trusting the process and get our heads on straight. We have to just go out there and compete. If we go out there and compete everyday we will be fine."
After Foster and Newton combined in back-to-back innings to make great plays defensively to keep the Eagles off the board, it was an error that put the first run of the game on the board. Looking to push runners over, Georgia Southern put down a bunt that was helped along by a throwing error to send runners around the bases. UTA would prevent further damage with consecutive Eagles thrown out at the dish on the next two at-bats.
UTA threatened in the fourth by putting its first runner in scoring position of the game, but a hard liner was snagged by the centerfielder. Georgia Southern took advantage in the fifth with a two-run, two out double that bounced off the top of the wall.
Another opportunity came in the next frame with UTA placing a runner on third for the first time on the day. However, again it was the GS defense that prevented damage as a fly out to center ended the chance.
The Eagles came right back in the next half with a five-spot that was highlighted by a three-run homer to left-centerfield.
Following the midweek game against UNT, the Mavs hit the road for a pair of SBC series at Troy and Georgia State. Montes added the team needs to learn from the mistakes today to get ready for the stretch.
"For the most part, the girls are hard on themselves," Montes said. "They know that it is what it is and we had a rough game. We have a lot of Sun Belt games to play and they know what we need to do to get back. They understand we have to scatching and keep doing what we are doing so we get a good place for the conference tournament."