For the first time since 2016, the UTA baseball team has defeated Texas Christian University.
The Mavericks built up an early 6-0 lead on the 19th-ranked Horned Frogs on Tuesday night and were able to hang on for a 6-3 victory. It’s the team’s sixth straight win.
UTA had lost its previous eight matchups against the Horned Frogs, including twice earlier in the 2019 season.
“It wasn’t easy, it never is against them,” head coach Darin Thomas said. “Sometimes when you win in a tough situation like that, it makes your team better. It makes them believe next time they’re in that situation, they can get out of it.”
The three-run Maverick lead heading into the ninth inning opened the door for senior closer Andrew Gross to enter the game in a save situation. Gross closed out the Horned Frogs for his 15th save of the season, setting a new UTA all-time single-season record.
“Seeing the last time was 1992 when [UTA pitcher Jason Watkins] got it, it’s been a long ways,” Gross said. “Obviously, I was just trying to get the win for our team.”
The all-time Sun Belt Conference record for saves in a season stands at 18.
UTA’s bats jumped all over TCU starter Jared Janczak and posted six runs in the first five innings of the game. Junior infielder Dylan Paul launched his third home run of the season, a mammoth blast over the bushes beyond the right field fence.
The Mavericks also got a bounce-back start from senior pitcher Ka’ikepono Anderson, who started his 11th game of the season and held TCU to five scoreless innings.
Anderson had failed to pitch past the second inning in each of his previous two starts.
“My last few starts were just rough, I couldn’t find the zone,” Anderson said. “You go in there with a lead like that, pitching inning by inning is not easy, but you just have that confidence that your guys are gonna play behind you.”
Next up for UTA is a three-game home stand against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in a weekend Sun Belt series. The series kicks off on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Clay Gould Ballpark.
The Mavericks are starting to garner some national attention as well. The team is currently ranked 29th in the Collegiate Baseball poll and has received votes in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, as well.
Thomas said it’s a testament to the players going out and competing every day.
“It doesn’t happen every day around here, and anytime that happens you’ve gotta be happy about it,” he said. “I’m happy for our guys. The national recognition helps in recruiting, but it’s mainly for our guys in that locker room.”