The baseball team (4-2) pulled off a thrilling win in its first game of the 2019 UTA Classic on Friday at Clay Gould Ballpark.
UTA trailed 8-3 for most of the game before plating two runs in the seventh inning and four runs in the ninth to secure a 9-8 walk-off victory against Stephen F. Austin State University.
The Mavericks loaded the bases in the ninth inning. After a pop-out and an RBI groundout by senior catcher Will Olson, sophomore outfielder David Renning grounded to the shortstop. An errant throw led to the tying and winning runs crossing home, and a raucous Maverick dugout emptied out and dogpiled Renning between first and second.
Ground ball but the first baseman can't handle the throw. 2 runs score and the Mavs win a WILD one 9-8. pic.twitter.com/LUbkIPu6dI— RJ Coyle (@coylio33) February 23, 2019
“It was pretty cool, I kind of got ran over when we all ran out, but it was definitely the highlight of my night, for sure,” said senior pitcher Dylan Schneider, who pitched three scoreless innings in relief.
Schneider and the UTA bullpen continued their strong start to 2019, keeping the Mavericks in the game after the team fell behind early. Sophomore pitcher Nick Skeffington and junior pitcher Wyatt Divis each added a scoreless inning as well.
“I think we got a really deep pen, a really deep staff. If everybody can step up and do their job, I think we got a good chance of being really good this year,” Schneider said.
The game was marred by miscues on both sides, the Mavericks committing two errors and running into a couple outs on the basepaths as well.
“I just thought we played bad, and both teams just kind of set baseball back a little bit tonight,” head coach Darin Thomas said after the game.
UTA fell behind after a six-run fourth inning by Stephen F. Austin State University that gave them an 8-3 lead. The Lumberjacks wouldn’t score again.
Sophomore pitcher David Moffat took the mound for the second time this season but was done in by that big fourth inning, and he didn’t come out for the fifth. Moffat allowed all eight runs, five of them earned.
“We didn’t help David out at all. Then he got a little flat in the fourth and didn’t help himself out,” Thomas said of his sophomore starter.
It was a strange night at Clay Gould, added to by the foggy mist that hung over the ballpark for the entire game. Multiple times the Mavericks hitters laced line drives right into the Lumberjack defense. A fourth inning leadoff double by junior infielder Dylan Paul was erased after he was ruled to have left second base too early while attempting to tag up on a fly out by the following batter.
But the bullpen kept the game within reach, and the Mavericks hitters came through just in time to sneak away with UTA’s fourth win of the early season.
With a busy weekend that includes another game on Saturday and two on Sunday, a win in the first game makes the weekend bearable, Thomas said.
“That’s the biggest thing, you just gotta win,” he said. “We played hard. Everyone had some enthusiasm and ‘never say die,’ that type of thing. That was good to see.”
The baseball team continues its performance in the 2019 UTA Classic against Wichita State University at noon Saturday at Clay Gould Ballpark.