After UT Arlington fell behind three runs in the ninth inning against No. 16 Texas, Darien McLemore stood in the dugout and rallied the troops.
Even though he didn’t play because of an oblique injury, the UTA captain reminded his teammates to stay within themselves.
Sure enough, the Mavericks pieced together a ninth-inning rally and walked off on a game-winning wild pitch to beat the Longhorns 6-5 in 10 innings Tuesday night at Globe Life Park.
UTA (10-7) pumped out six hits in the final two innings, including a clutch two-run single from freshman Will Olson that sent the game into extra innings. Freshman Christian Hollie opened the 10th inning with a triple, and although Texas managed to get two outs, he scored as Ty Culbreth’s wild pitch careened toward the first-base dugout.
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“As soon as I saw that ball bounce, I was on my horse,” Hollie said.
The freshman-laden Mavericks earned their first win at Globe Life Park and sent Texas (13-8) back to Austin with a loss in their first meeting with UTA in Arlington.
“We needed that. Hopefully that’s a sign of how we’re going to battle all year long,” coach Darin Thomas said.
Three freshman pitchers carried the Mavericks into the late innings, and it wasn’t until Thomas brought in Friday starter Chad Nack in the ninth that Texas belted out three runs that seemed to close the door on UTA’s upset bid.
But despite a late deficit and a number of base-running blunders, the Mavericks earned their biggest win of the season.
Senior Eric Tate was 4 for 4 with a run and an RBI, and he was at the plate when Hollie scored the winning run. Tate said McLemore’s speech symbolized what the Mavericks are all about.
“We work on passing it back to the next guy, not trying to be the hero,” Tate said. “Guys bought into the process.”
Daniel James settled the Mavericks down, giving up one run in four innings after relieving Reid Petty, who struggled with control through 11/3 innings. James allowed just two base runners until Texas scored in the sixth inning to chase him.
UTA struck first on Levi Scott’s RBI single in the bottom of the third and had a chance to extend its lead in the fifth when Scott drilled a pitch to deep right-center field, but Collin Shaw ran it down and doubled a runner up at second base.
That set the Longhorns up for C.J. Hinojosa’s RBI single in the sixth. They had runners on the corners, but the Mavericks turned a 1-6-2 double play to end the inning.
The Mavericks don’t have much time to celebrate the victory as they turn around and host Dallas Baptist at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Clay Gould Ballpark.