SB: Burchianti's grand slam lifts UTA in finale

April 9, 2017

ATLANTA - The bats came alive in the series finale to help UTA top Georgia State 7-3 on Sunday at Bob Heck Field in Sun Belt Conference play.

The Mavericks knocked 12 hits in Game 3 against the Panthers, lifting the Mavs back above .500 to a 20-19 record and 6-9 in league play. Whitney Walton combined with Bri Burchianti as the pair each had a homer, featured by Burchianti's pinch-hit grand slam in the fifth.

"It helps my confidence a lot knowing I can be put into those situations and I can be able to help out my teammates and get runs on the board," Burchianti said. "I was was just really happy and it was great. I love hitting home runs, especially grand slams, it's the greatest feeling in the game."

Burchianti also had a game-tying hit in a pinch-hit situation on Saturday.

The weekends top UTA hitter continued things right off the bat as Walton knocked a two-out solo shot in the top of the first. The freshman finished the weekend with a team-high six hits. Aileen Garcia led the way in Game 3 with three hits that included a double and a run scored. Krista Rude joined Walton with a pair of hits on Sunday.

"Before the game we talked about taking advantage of all our opportunities and leaving it all on the field," UTA coach Kristie Fox said. "I think the girls did a good job of putting it to practice immediately and getting those early runs."

The Mavs used four consecutive singles in the second to build up on the lead. Laura Curry and Garcia got things started on one out before Shelbi Sikes sent one up the middle to bring both home.


 

 

Burchianti put the exclamation point on the contest as her one-out grand slam in the fifth proved to be the game winner.

"Bri has been clutch for us in pinch-hit situations," Fox said. "We have a lot of confidence in her and her hit today was huge for us to get the win."

Georgia State attempted to get a comeback going in the sixth with a two-run homer. The Panthers loaded the bases in the next half inning, but Sandra Mendoza started a double play and Sam Clakley got the final strikeout to claim the win.

Clakley improved to 15-10 on the season, striking out two overall and allowing three earned over seven innings.

UTA returns to action when it hosts South Alabama on April 14 for a Sun Belt doubleheader. Action at Allan Saxe Field gets underway at 4 p.m.

"We know that we can compete with these types of teams," Burchianti said of what the team is taking from the weekend into next week's series. "We knew ahead of time that we could, but now everyone knows that we are that good and can compete with the second team in our conference."

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