ARLINGTON, Texas () – The Arkansas State baseball squad suffered its first Sun Belt Conference loss of the season by dropping a 6-2 decision to UT Arlington Saturday afternoon at Clay Gould Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.
The Mavericks (8-15, 1-4) held a 3-1 lead over A-State (12-10, 4-1) going into the bottom of the eighth inning, but a solo home run by Darien McLemore with one out stretched the lead to 4-1 for UTA. After a fly out, UT Arlington had two consecutive singles to set up a two-run double by Matt Shortall that extended the UTA lead to 6-1. The inning ended as Shortall was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple.
The Red Wolves started the top of the ninth with a pinch-hit walk from Ty Michelotti, but two consecutive strikeouts looking gave the Mavericks two outs. Austin Baker stepped up to the plate and hit a double to left-center field to plate Michelotti and cute the UTA lead to 6-2. A walk put runners on first and second, but pinch-hitter Tanner Ring grounded into a fielder's choice to third base to end the game and set the final at 6-2 in favor of UT Arlington.
Chandler Hawkins took the loss for Arkansas State after pitching five innings and allowing three runs (all earned) on nine hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Offensively, Zach Maggio and Baker had two hits each to lead the Red Wolves, while Baker hit his team-high fourth home run and drove in both of A-State's runs. For the Mavericks, Shortall was 5-for-5 with a homer and three RBI's, while McLemore was 4-for-4 with a homer and three RBI's.
The Red Wolves started the scoring in the top of the first inning when Baker hit a solo home run after Zach Maggio was picked off first base. Following Baker's homer, Lucas Feddersen singled and Matt Burgess walked to put runners on first and second for A-State. UT Arlington starter Jess Amedee fought back to get Stuart Levy to fly out to right and struck out Collin Massanelli to quell the Arkansas State threat.
A-State's starter Hawkins struck out the first batter he faced in the bottom of the first and got the second out after Feddersen made a diving stop at second and threw to first in time to get the runner. UTA's Shortall stepped up to the plate with two outs and tied the game on a home run of his own, but Hawkins got a fly out to end the inning that kept the score 1-1 after one inning.
The Mavericks started the bottom of the second inning with a single from Greg McCall and he advanced to second on a wild pitch with one out. A single advanced McCall to third and he scored on a McLemore single to give UT Arlington a 2-1 lead. Hawkins was able to limit the damage by striking out the next hitter and getting a fly out to right field to end the inning.
Trailing 2-1, the Red Wolves threatened in the top of the fifth after Kevin Fitzpatrick led off the inning with a walk and UT Arlington's starter Amedee was pulled after getting an out and allowing a single to Maggio to put runners on first and second with one out. UTA reliever Zach Hobbs immediately walked Baker to load the bases, but was able to get Feddersen to ground into a 1-2-3 double play to end A-State's threat in the inning.
The Red Wolves and Mavericks square off in the series finale Sunday at Clay Gould Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.