ARLINGTON, Texas – A late rally doomed UT Arlington for the second consecutive game, as No. 2 Louisiana topped the Mavericks 9-5 Saturday afternoon at Clay Gould Ballpark.
UTA dropped to 16-23 overall and 8-9 in the Sun Belt Conference. The league-leading Rajin’ Cajuns are 36-4 and 16-1. The three-game series ends Sunday with a 1 p.m. first pitch.
“That’s two days in a row we didn’t pitch well in the eighth and ninth innings,” UT Arlington coach Darin Thomas said. “We just have to come back better tomorrow.”
Louisiana, 16-0 on the road this season, scored twice in the eighth to break a 3-3 tie and added another four runs in the ninth. UTA did cut it to 5-4 on Greg McCall’s solo home run in the eighth and put another two runners on before that threat ended.
The Mavericks didn’t go down easy in the ninth. After getting one run home, UT Arlington had the tying run to the plate in Justin Moreland with the bases loaded. Moreland fouled out and a double play ended the game.
UTA starter Zach Thompson and UL counterpart Ryan Wilson were locked in a pitchers’ duel. Neither team scored through the first five innings, as hits and runners were difficult to come by. Both teams scored in each of the last four innings.
The Cajuns were the first team to break through in the sixth thanks to a 10-pitch at-bat and
a bad hop at third. With the bases loaded and two outs, Louisiana’s Dylan Butler ended a marathon battle against Thompson with a chopper that bounced by UTA third baseman Brady Cox and scored two.
The Mavericks came back in the bottom of the inning with their own two-out rally. Matt Shortall started it with his sixth home run of the season, a solo shot to right-center that also moved him into UTA’s all-time top 10 for homers with 20 in his career.
Ryan Bottger followed with a single to right, ending the day for Wilson. McCall singled and Justin Copeland doubled down the left-field line, scoring Bottger to tie the game 2-2. The Cajuns used three relievers in the inning.
The squads traded runs in the seventh. The Cajuns scored on an RBI groundout before the Mavericks came back to tie in on doubles from Travis Sibley and Eric Tate.
Louisiana had runners at second and third in the eighth when UTA reliever Jess Amedee came on for Zach Hobbs. Amedee coaxed a grounder with the infield in to get an out and keep the game tied. After an intentional walk loaded the bases, Amedee got a strikeout.
The right-hander was able to get another ground ball with two outs, but second baseball Darien McLemore couldn’t knock down the smash up the middle and two runs scored. UL scored four runs in the eighth Friday on its way to a 9-5 win.