UTA softball splits doubleheader in 2019 Maverick Invitational

Junior outfileder Melanie Mendoza lands on third base during the game against Wichita State University on Feb. 23 at Allan Saxe Field. Wichita State defeated UTA 3-1.

The softball team (7-6) split its games on Saturday during the 2019 Maverick Invitational at Allan Saxe Field.  

Game 1: UTA 10, Prairie View A&M University 0

Unlike the day before, runs were aplenty in a rematch between the Mavericks and Lady Panthers. UTA outhit Prairie View A&M 10-2 to shut out the visitors.

UTA took the lead in the top of the first as junior infielder Aileen Garcia brought in the run from a single by senior outfielder Krista Rude.  

Junior infielder Melanie Mendoza hit a two RBI single, driving in junior infielder Brittany Wyllie and Garcia to put the Mavericks up 3-0. 

UTA’s hot streak continued with four runs in the top of the fifth. Junior infielder Whitney Walton scored from third from a Garcia sacrifice fly. Junior catcher Reagan Wright followed up with a two RBI double as senior outfielder Laura Curry and Rude rounded home.

Wyllie capped off the half inning with a single RBI putting Wright through to home plate. The Mavericks took the comfortable 7-0 lead into what would be the final inning.

Head coach Peejay Brun said after Friday’s showing against the Lady Panthers, the Mavericks had to change their approach at the plate.

“It was going to be important for us not to be so aggressive at the plate and be a little bit more patient,” she said. “I thought the hitters did a good job making that adjustment.”

A three-run sixth lifted the Mavericks as UTA run-ruled Prairie View A&M, who had no response throughout the game.

Junior pitcher JoJo Valencia (3-0) pitched five innings while freshman pitcher Laura Henriksen relieved her in the final inning. Valencia only allowed two hits and no walks while striking out three.  

Game 2: Wichita State University 3, UTA 1

Wichita State took the lead with a three-run home run in the top of the first that ultimately decided the game.

Sophomore pitcher Randi Phillips (4-3) gave up two hits and a walk in the top of the first as the Shockers stunned the Mavericks right off the bat.

UTA responded when Garcia hit a double in the bottom of the second to put herself into scoring position. Wright followed up with a single RBI as Garcia scored to put the home side on the board.

The ball game turned into a pitcher’s duel on the mound. Phillips struck out three on the night.

Brun said Wichita State gave the team a battle that was too much for UTA. She praised the Shockers’ pitcher, sophomore Caitlin Bingham, for her performance. Bingham allowed only five hits, two walks and struck out three.  

“That pitcher did a great job on the mound, keeping us off balance with the off speed,” she said. “When you face a good ball club whose pitcher is hitting her spots and keeping us off balance, you got to give it to them. They just outplayed us tonight.”

UTA closes out the 2019 Maverick Invitational against Abilene Christian University at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Allan Saxe Field.

@_julio_vega

sports-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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