A couple of bases-loaded walks gave UT-Arlington an early 3-0 lead and then a three-run blast of the bat of Kacey Everett in the fifth helped the Mavericks clinch a 8-0 (6 inning) run-rule victory over the Abilene Christian softball team Wednesday night at Poly Wells Field.
The loss dropped ACU's season record to 16-23, while the Mavericks improved to 16-20. Game three of their series will be played in two weeks in Arlington. ACU won its first meeting vs. UTA last month in Lubbock, Texas, 2-1.
After pitching her way out of several jams through the first 4.0 innings, Wildcat freshman (10-7) couldn't find her way out of trouble during the Mavericks' six-run fifth.
Second baseman Marisa Datko began the decisive inning with Null's second hit by pitch of the game and Nina Villanueva followed with her third base hit, which Null had to duck underneath as the Maverick shortstop scorched the ball right up the middle.
Two batters later, UTA loaded the bases on an infield single by Rebecca Stokes and a walk to Jolene Schaefer made it a 2-0 game. Schaefer also had an HBP RBI in the third for the Mavericks' first run of the night.
Schaefer's second free pass led head coach to replace Null with junior , but after the Burbank, Calif., threw seven straight balls and walked in the Mavericks' third run, the fourth-year mentor was given little choice but to re-enter Null.
The rookie recorded a quick second out, however, the ball went deep enough into right field to score another run from third base. A few pitches later, UTA had itself an insurmountable 7-0 lead after Everett - the No. 9 hitter - crushed her second home run of the season over the wall in right-center.
The following inning, Villanueva smacked her eighth home run of 2014 - a solo shot against reliever that gave her a 4-for-4 night - down the left-field line, just over the outreached glove of . That round-tripper made it an 8-0 game, and UTA starting pitcher Callie Collins would go on to complete her 6.0-inning shutout with a ground ball to third from pinch hitter .
Collins (8-9) scattered two hits all night, both of which came in the second inning, and balanced her four walks with four strikeouts.
ACU had several chances to scratch the scoreboard, starting in the second where and led off with back-to-back singles. But after bunted them over to second and third base, Collins struck out and got to tap one back to the circle.
The Wildcats also had their leadoff hitters reach in the fourth (walk) and fifth (error), but couldn't get either past second base. Overall, ACU left six runners on base.
The Wildcats return to action Saturday at 2 p.m. with a doubleheader against second-place Lamar (16-15, 10-4 SLC) of the Southland Conference.
Information for this story provided by ACU Athletics.