ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas-Arlington rallied for four runs in the ninth inning to avoid a three-game Sun Belt Conference sweep and beat No. 2 Louisiana-Lafayette 5-4 Sunday afternoon at Clay Gould Ballpark.
The Mavericks improved to 17-23 overall and 9-9 in conference action, while the league-leading Rajin' Cajuns dropped to 36-5 and 16-2. Louisiana lost for the first time on the road this season (16-1) and had its 10-game SBC winning streak snapped.
UT-Arlington last beat a team ranked as high as No. 2 on April 10, 2012 at Texas A&M. The Mavericks had never previously scored a walk-off win against a team ranked this high.
Eric Tate delivered the winning blow with a bases-loaded single against a drawn-in infield with one out in the ninth to score pinch runner Drew Dowdy. The Mavericks had three hits in the ninth after managing just three through the first eight innings.
The Mavericks needed six innings to get to Louisiana starter Cody Boutte. Ryan Bottger's infield single scored Tate for UTA's first run of the game in the sixth with two outs.
UT-Arlington finally got something going in the ninth, as Bottger walked and Greg McCall doubled to start the inning. A wild pitch scored Bottger and moved McCall to second before pinch hitter Jackson Morris walked.
Levi Scott followed with a double to left-center to score McCall, cutting the UL lead to 4-3 and leaving runners at second and third. Darien McLemore was hit by new reliever Reagan Bazar to load the bases.
Pinch hitter Brandan Vinyard's hot shot was knocked down by UL first baseman Caleb Adams, but the ball squirted away far enough for Morris to tie the game. Derek Miller was hit by a pitch to reload the bases, setting up Tate's heroics.
The Mavericks' bullpen of Chad Nack and Colin Tornberg went seven innings and gave up just one run. UTA's Daniel Milliman allowed three runs on four hits in two innings in his shortest outing as a starter.
UT-Arlington won for the first time this season when trailing after eight innings. The last walk-off win was May 11, 2013 against Texas State (6-5) in 14 innings.