JACKSON, Miss. – After an 8-0 loss to open Sunday’s doubleheader, UT Arlington claimed the series against Arkansas State with a 4-3 victory at Smith-Wills Stadium.
“As bad as we were the first game, I was proud of our energy level,” UT Arlington coach Darin Thomas said. “We played hard, grinded it out and finally scored a little bit to get their starter out of the game. This was a great series win on the road for us against a really good club.”
The win improved the Mavericks record to 5-6 on the year with a 2-1 mark in the Sun Belt while Arkansas State drops to 8-5 this season with a 1-2 record in conference play.
UTA’s offensive efforts were led by a pair of seniors in infielder Eric Tate and Travis Sibley. Tate ended the doubleheader 3-of-9 at the plate with one run and one RBI while Sibley went 3-of-7. Matt McLean also chipped in during the second game of the day going 3-of-5 with two runs.
“We were short-handed in a long, odd weekend and I’ll give our guys all the credit in the world,” Thomas added. “We’ve got a lot of improvement to do in a lot of areas, but I’ll take that for the first weekend.”
UT Arlington will return to action this week in a home-and-home series against Abilene Christian. The Mavericks will travel to Abilene on Tuesday to take on the Wildcats with first pitch set for 2 p.m. while Wednesday’s game at Clay Gould Ballpark in Arlington is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.
Game 1: Arkansas State 8, UT Arlington 0
UT Arlington struggled to get its bats going in an 8-0 loss to Arkansas State in game one of Sunday’s doubleheader at Smith-Wills Stadium.
“I though we had good energy all weekend,” Thomas said. “The character of our club is really good, it’s just that their guy pitched really well and we struggled against him.”
The Red Wolves put together an impressive three-inning stretch in the middle of the game with a one-run third inning followed up by a pair of two-run innings to take a 5-0 lead into the sixth.
After the UTA pitching staff seemed to calm down the ASU batters with a scoreless sixth inning, the Red Wolves offense came to life once again registering three runs and three hits to take a comfortable eight-run lead.
Dalton DeLeon made the most of his appearance as the junior catcher was behind the plate for UTA starting in the sixth inning. The Burleson native went 1-of-1 at the plate, recording one of the Mavericks three hits.
Arkansas State pitcher Jon Glidewell (2-0) had UT Arlington’s number in the game as he kept the Mavs off the board through seven innings with eight strikeouts and only two hits allowed. Glidewell (2-0) ended the day with three hits allowed in the shutout effort in his eight innings on the mound.
Mavericks starter Brad Vassar (1-2) went 3.2 innings in his third start, giving up three earned runs and six hits while striking out one ASU batter.
One day after going 7-of-15 in the box with two outs on the board, UTA was 0-of-6 in the same situation while ASU went 4-of-12 with two outs.
The Mavs recorded three hits on the day with no runs and one error while the Red Wolves used 14 hits to put eight runs on the board with no errors.
Game 2: UT Arlington 4, Arkansas State 3
Behind a strong pitching performance from Joel Kuhnel, UT Arlington picked up the series win over Arkansas State with a 4-3 decision.
“I can’t say enough about the start Kuhnel gave us,” Thomas said. “It was Reid Petty’s start, but he was sick so we had a guy step up who wasn’t expecting to start and he did a great job.”
Kuhnel (1-0) played a key role in the Mavericks’ victory as the sophomore RHP went seven innings allowing seven hits and one earned runs while striking out a pair of Red Wolves.
After a rough start hitting the ball in game one of the doubleheader, the Mavericks got things rolling early in the second game of the day when Levi Scott notched his second home run of the season on a two-run shot that sailed over the left field wall.
After for straight scoreless innings for both teams, UTA took control of the game in the seventh with a trio of two-out hits that brought in two runs. McLean got things started with hit a single down the left field line that put one runner on base with Tate in the box. In the next at-bat Tate shot one to the right field wall for a double that brought in McLean to push UTA’s advantage to two runs. Looking to help add to the lead, Jackson Morris hit a single that went through the right side and brought home Tate to push the Mavericks lead to three runs at 4-1.
The Red Wolves made a late rally in the bottom of the ninth cutting the Mavericks lead to one run at 4-3, but senior RHP Colin Tornberg weathered the storm as he closed out the game with his third save of the season.
UTA ended the second game hitting .400 (6-of-15) with two outs which was markedly better than their 0-of-6 mark in game one.
The Mavericks’ four runs came from ten hits with one error while the Red Wolves registered three runs off of 11 hits with no errors.