GRAND PRAIRIE — For all the excitement the UT Arlington baseball team built around winning its first regular season championship since 1992, the focus had to shift back to business with the idea that its season could end abruptly as postseason play gets started.Brad Vachon got that memo.The UTA ace perplexed a powerful Dallas Baptist lineup and frustrated a team that’s had UTA’s number over the past years with a brilliant shutout performance, guiding the Mavericks to a 2-0 Western Athletic Conference Tournament-opening win Wednesday at QuikTrip Park.“He’s always been capable of that, and that’s as good as he’s been in a while,” coach Darin Thomas said. “We’re in such a tough bracket, so it’s good to get that first win.”The Mavericks’ hopes of eventually getting to Omaha won’t even get off the ground if they don’t win the WAC Tournament. UTA simply didn’t win enough midweek games to establish a reputable RPI, and the WAC wasn’t as strong of a baseball conference this year as it has been in seasons past.The only way the Mavericks will advance to the NCAA regional round is by winning their pool and clinching the championship on Sunday. They got off to great start against Dallas Baptist, a team that took two out of three at UTA’s ballpark earlier this season.Vachon, who was at Cisco Junior College last season, helped provide a small bit of redemption for the Mavericks. Last season, in UTA’s first NCAA regional appearance since 2006, the Patriots blasted UTA 10-0 just days after the Mavericks won the Southland Conference Tournament.But on Wednesday night, Dallas Baptist couldn’t touch Vachon. The junior right-hander has been UTA’s ace all season, and he showed the Patriots why by holding them to just two hits in 7 2/3 innings. His 11 strikeouts were a career high.“I’m more excited about holding Dallas Baptist scoreless than getting 11 strikeouts,” he said. “That’s such a strong lineup.”Early on, it didn’t seem like he’d end up as the game changer who would key UTA’s first conference tournament shutout since 1999. The Patriots loaded the bases in the second inning on a single and two walks. But after Thomas made a trip to the mound, Vachon induced an inning-ending, 6-4-3 double play to squash the threat.“I just told him that his stuff was working and he just needed to calm down and trust it,” Thomas said.He got all the run support he needed in the bottom half of that inning. Greg McCall singled up the middle, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Brandon Lawrence’s single. Lawrence would eventually score on a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning to complete the scoring.The Mavericks have Thursday off and face New Mexico State at 3 p.m. Friday.