UT Arlington rallied late, but came up short in Friday’s 14-9 season-opening loss to Stephen F. Austin in the UTA Invitational at Clay Gould Ballpark.
The Mavericks (0-1) face Incarnate Word (0-1) at 3 p.m. Saturday in the second game of the tournament. Oklahoma State defeated Incarnate Word 10-5 Friday in the first game of the Invitational.
The Lumberjacks (1-0) had 20 hits against six UTA pitchers, and SFA scored in each of the first five innings and led 13-0. It was the most runs allowed by the Mavericks since last season’s 14-4 loss to Baylor on April 9.
“It was good to see us fight back a little bit, and we got within a batter or two of getting back in it,” UT Arlington coach Darin Thomas said.
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Brad Vachon (0-1) took the loss for the Mavericks. He gave up eight runs, seven earned, on eight hits in two innings before being relieved by Keegan Hucul three batters into the third.
“The discouraging thing was we just didn’t get them out the first three or four innings.” Thomas said. “We’ve got to do a better job of that.”
The Lumberjacks put the first two batters on the start the game and scored on Mackenzie Handel’s sac fly to center. SFA added another run on a wild pitch for a 2-0 lead.
The second inning started even worse for Vachon, as the Lumberjacks loaded the bases without an out on two hits and a walk. The Mavericks were one out from limiting the damage to one run, but a two-out double from Ricardo Sanchez made it 5-0.
The onslaught continued over the next three innings, as the Lumberjacks upped their advantage to 13-0. SFA scored at least two runs in each of the first five innings.
The Mavericks finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth with two runs on one hit. Peter Cuomo had an RBI groundout with the bases loaded to end the shutout.
UT Arlington scored another run in the seventh to close the gap to 13-3. John Michael Twichell started things with a screaming single up the middle and eventually scored when Derek Miller was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Darien McLemore and Matt Shortall each had two-run hits to highlight a six-run eighth to cut SFA’s lead to 14-9 going into the final frame. Cuomo and Shortall finished the game with two hits, and the Mavericks had 11 as a team.
“Mentally you have to flush it,” Cuomo said. “We have a game tomorrow.”
SFA starter Cameron Gann worked five innings to earn the win. The Lumberjacks face Oklahoma State on Saturday at 11 a.m.