In the finale of a three-game series, the baseball team (3-2) swept its double header against Stephen F. Austin State University on Saturday at Clay Gould Ballpark.
Game 1: UTA 5 - SFA 3
Junior pitcher Kody Bullard set a career-high in strikeouts, and the team’s batting woke up from a two-game slump.
The Mavericks jumped to a quick 1-0 lead as senior outfielder Connor Aube scored on a grounder off the bat of senior infielder Dylan Paul.
After a scoreless second inning, senior outfielder Andrew Miller smashed a solo home run to left center field to increase the UTA lead 2-0.
In the fourth inning, the Lumberjacks cut the Mavericks lead in half, 2-1.
Bullard and Lumberjacks junior infielder Chaney Dodge chirped at each other in the middle of the fourth inning, causing home plate umpire Darian Heare to issue a verbal warning to both benches.
“We can't be getting into altercations,” head coach Darin Thomas said. “I thought the umpires did a good job of handling it, and I'll handle it as a head coach.”
Junior outfielder Phillip Childs drove in a run with an RBI single as part of a two-run inning, increasing the lead 4-1.
Mavericks batters flexed their muscles again in the sixth inning as junior infielder Boone Montgomery hit a solo home run to pad the lead 5-1.
The Lumberjacks notched two more runs in the later innings, but it wasn’t enough as the Mavericks’ bullpen preserved the victory.
Bullard finished the night with five innings pitched, allowing three hits and walking two.
Junior pitcher Michael Wong entered in the eighth inning and pitched 1.2 innings, earning his first save of the young season.
Game 2: UTA 2 - SFA 1
In a reversal of game one, the Lumberjacks jumped to a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning.
After a scoreless second inning, Miller flied out to right field, allowing Aube to tag up at third base, and slid under the catcher’s outstretched mitt at home plate, tying the game 1-1.
In the following inning, the Mavericks took a 2-1 lead when Childs scored off junior catcher Sam Gotlieb’s RBI single.
Clinging to a one-run lead with two outs, the game-tying run reached third base. Dodge hit a grounder to Paul, who mishandled the ball but recovered and tossed it to sophomore pitcher Zach Norris, who narrowly beat Dodge to first base for the final out of the game.
Junior pitcher David Moffat finished with six innings pitched, striking out six batters and collecting six hits and one walk.
Thomas credited his starting pitching with powering the team throughout the weekend series.
“That’s the best I've seen Kody, and that’s exactly what David did last year,” Thomas said. “He pitched his butt off all year last year, and he did it again tonight.”
UTA returns to the field against Abilene Christian University at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Clay Gould Ballpark.