JACKSON, Miss. – The UT Arlington Mavericks opened Sun Belt play winning 2-of-3 against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Smith-Wills Stadium this weekend. The Mavericks took the opener 6-4 on Saturday night before splitting a Sunday double-header, losing game one 8-0 and winning game two 4-3.
The Mavericks showed no signs of rust, entering the series not having played a game since falling to the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders 12-9 on February 27th. Meanwhile the Red Wolves were building positive momentum, coming off a three-game road sweep of the Houston Baptist Huskies and having taken 2-of-3 from the No. 11 Louisville Cardinals in Emerson, Georgia the week prior.
Two Out Prowess
The Mavericks’ offense had an amazing weekend with two outs hitting .351 (13-for-37) for the series. Take away Red Wolves’ starter Jon Glidewell’s (Sr., LHP) brilliant outing and the Mavs looked even better going .433 with two outs in games one and three of the series.
UT Arlington scored half of their runs in the series with two outs accounting for three of the six runs scored in game one and two of the four runs scored in game two. Put into perspective, if A-State gets the third out, A-State sweeps the series.
Arkansas State hurler John Glidewell has the start of the series allowing three hits over eight scoreless innings to snag the win in game two. The senior glided through the first seven Mavericks he faced before allowing a single to Sibley in the third inning. Sibley would be closed out on a double play ball in the next at bat.
The only time UTA got runners into scoring position was in the fourth when an error allowed Tate to reach base. Glidewell would induce a fly out to end the threat. The southpaw retired 12 straight hitters from the fourth inning on before allowing a single back up the box by DeLeon in the eighth. Another double-play ball would end that threat as well.
The tone for the rubber match of the series was set early by the power stroke belonging to Mavericks’ Levi Scott. The (senior) looked to build on the .375 clip that he posted against the Red Wolves’ staff in 2014 after opening the series at .143. In his first at bat, with one out and McLean on first Scott lit into Zuber’s offering and sent it over the fence in left for a 2-0 lead.
The blast ended Zuber’s run of 13 consecutive scoreless innings and began what would become a 2-for-4 day at the plate for Scott who would finish the series at .273 with two runs scored and three driven in.
Running Into Outs
The Red Wolves ran into a common problem encountered by teams that are aggressive on the basepaths, and that is running into outs. UT Arlington sophomore catcher Brady Cox gunned down the first two Arkansas State baserunners while they attempted to steal in the first two innings of game one. These tone-setting plays slowed down the running attack as the Red Wolves only attempted one other steal in the series.
Running into outs proved most costly to Arkansas State in game three as twice a baserunner ran into an out that was followed by hits that would have scored them. In the fifth, freshman shortstop Jeremy Brown was picked off at second only to watch from the dugout as Zach George (Sr., DH) and Austin Baker (Jr., CF) hit back-to-back singles that would have scored him.
Again in the eighth inning, aggressive and speedy leadoff hitter Ty White (Jr., RF) was thrown out trying to extend a single into a double on the throw and, just as Brown had in the fifth, watched George and Baker hit back-to-back singles that he would have scored on to tie the game.
Scattering Them Out
UT Arlington got strong starts in game one and two out of Chad Nack (Sr., RHP) and Joel Kuhnel (So., RHP) as neither was perfect or flawless, but both were masterful in scattering hits and escaping jams in their respective starts.
Nack spread nine hits over six innings of work and allowed only two earned runs to improve to 2-0 on the season. The Red Wolves put runners in scoring position in four of the six innings he pitched and Nack allowed them a run only twice, inducing an ending inning double-play on one occasion and a flyout on the other.
Kuhnel worked around seven hits and three walks while allowing only an earned run in his seven innings pitched to make his first decision of the year a win. The Red Wolves moved runners into scoring position in five of the seven innings he pitched and yet were able to capitalize with only a single run in the second inning on an RBI double by Matt Burgess (Jr., 1B). The sophomore helped his own cause with a pick off in the fifth inning.