Mavs Eliminate `Jacks From SLC Tournament
May 21, 2009
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - UTA used a pair of home runs and a strong outing by Nathan Long to eliminate SFA from the Southland Conference Tournament, 7-4, on Thursday at Whataburger Field.
The No. 8 Lumberjacks (23-32) had won all of the previous four meetings with the No. 5 Mavericks (30-25) in the regular season, including a three-game sweep in Nacogdoches.
"It is a big thing, as you play a team that many times, you become familiar with them," Cardenas said. "Somebody asked me last night who I would rather play, and I said Lamar. Not because I thought we would beat Lamar, but there is not as much familiarity with them as there was with UT Arlington."
Zach Gardner was one of 12 Lumberjacks to close out his career, going 2-for-5 with two runs scored and a home run. Brian Ferguson and Tanner Hines each went 3-for-5 as well, but as a team the `Jacks were just 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position with 12 runners stranded on base. The teams combined to leave 24 runners on base between them.
"That's kind of been a theme in the games we struggled in this year, we didn't come up with the big hit and that happened again today," Gardner said. " As coach said, Long pitched a great game and he did a great job of keeping us off balance."
All-SLC first team pitcher Nathan Long got the win, going 7.0 innings and striking out eight batters while allowing just three runs. His eight strikeouts was enough to move him into first all-time at UTA in strikeouts with 107. Adam Boydston struck out three in 1.1 innings for his ninth save of the year.
As for SFA, the `Jacks used five pitchers on the afternoon with Jared West getting the start and taking the loss. Senior Richard Folmer carried the bulk of the load, striking out four in 2.1 innings of relief.
Things looked promising for the `Jacks early on as they got to Long for an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. SFA cashed in on Hines' first of three singles on the day when Brian Ferguson lined a double into the left-center field gap for the first of his two RBI on the afternoon.
Mitch Putman knotted it up just one inning later with a solo home run and Andrew Kainer put the Mavs in front with an RBI single in the third. Matt Otteman then opened things up for UTA with a two-run homer to left field, pushing the lead to 4-1 in the top of the fourth.
But the top of SFA's lineup responded in its half of the inning, starting with Gardner's solo home run, his sixth of the season. Hines and Sean Meyers followed with consecutive singles and Ferguson got another RBI with a double that scooted under Michael Choice's glove in center field. That got SFA to within 4-3 and put runners on second and third with just one out, but Long responded with a strikeout of Ryan Priest and then got Bo Coffman to ground out to keep the Mavs on top.
Tim Steggall picked up a two-out RBI in the sixth with a double down the left field line and Otteman drove in his third run of the day with a single in the eighth to give UTA a 6-3 with only six outs remaining for SFA.
But SFA made a push against reliever Jason Mitchell in the eighth with two outs, starting when Gardner singled and then stole second to get into scoring position. Hines then trimmed the lead to 6-4 with a single to center that scored Gardner and brought Meyers to the plate as the potential tying run. But UTA head coach Darin Thomas went to the pen for his stopper, Boydston, who got the Mavs out of the inning with a strikeout.
Boydston got another run to work with in the ninth on a sacrifice fly from Ryan Davis, and then went 1-2-3 in the ninth to close it out.