April 28, 2018
ARLINGTON, Texas - Bri Burchianti knocked a game-winning, two-run home run in the opener to help UT Arlington split a Saturday doubleheader with No. 22 Louisiana at Allan Saxe Field.
With the team celebrating Alumni Day, the Mavericks (25-21, 13-9) earned their first victory over a ranked opponent since knocking off the same Ragin' Cajuns in 2016 - then ranked No. 5 in the nation. With the Mavs trailing by one, Rude reached third on a two-base throwing error to bring up Burchianti, the junior sent the first pitch she saw over the left field fence for a 4-3 win in Game 1. Louisiana would come back in the Game 2 to take a 6-1 decision.
"We are starting to show people that when are at the top of our game and play hard that we can be some of the top teams," UTA coach Peejay Brun said. "In the second game, Louisiana came out and proved that they wanted to win the game and that we weren't going to sweep them today. Tomorrow is just going to be a good battle for both of the teams."
The Mavs and Ragin' Cajuns (32-13, 17-6) will meet on UTA's Senior Day at 12 p.m. The Mavs will honor the three seniors; Sandra Mendoza, Alyssa Chavez and Breanna Datko after the game.
Mendoza knocked base hits in each of the day's games, extending her reaching safely streak to a career-high 20 games. Mendoza's triple in Game 2 was a milestone hit, moving the senior into third in UTA history in hits with 240, as well as her 50th extra-base hit, now fifth in UTA history.
Laura Curry finished the day with three hits, two coming in the finale, while Burchianti's game-winning home run was her second long ball of the year and clinched the team's third walk-off home run in the previous four games.
In the circle, it was a strong effort from the three pitchers. Randi Phillips went the distance to open the day with seven innings tossed. Phillips went to 15-8 in the win, allowing five hits and only one blemish, a three-run home run in the third.
JoJo Valencia was knocked with the loss in Game 2, pitching four innings in her 25th start. She was charged with six runs, but only three earned. Chavez entered in the fourth and went three complete innings, giving up just two hits and striking out one.
"I was happy with the pitching staff, no matter what the score was," Brun said. "They are doing a good job in getting ground balls and we have to play good defense behind them and give them the support that they deserve. Randi did a great job, even after the home run, she kept it together and kept fighting for us, that is all we can ask for."
After Louisiana opened scoring in Game 1 with a three-run top half of the third, UTA answered back to show it wouldn't go quietely. The Mavs put together a one-out rally to load the bases, scoring two on an infield error. Both teams went scoreless until UTA's two-run game winner in the seventh.
In Game 2, the second proved to be a big frame once again, this time only Louisiana getting on the board. The Ragin' Cajuns used a solo shot to lead off the frame and then took advantage of a throwing error to plate three more on two outs. Another two-out rally in the fourth built the lead up to 6-0 before UTA could get an answer. Mendoza started off the fourth with a triple down the line, coming home in the next at-bat with Curry driving a single up the middle.