AUSTIN, TX – The UT Dallas baseball team is just one win away from its first-ever conference title after earning a 9-3 win over Concordia Texas Thursday night in the first game of the American Southwest Conference Championship Series' Gold Bracket, held this weekend at Tornado Field.
POST-GAME INTERVIEW WITH UTD HEAD COACH SHANE SHEWMAKE
The Comets (29-15) quickly opened the scoring with four runs in the top of the 1st inning to set the tone for the first game of the best-of-three series with the host Tornados (29-15). The two teams will return to the diamond for Game 2 at 6 p.m. Friday with the "if necessary" set for 2 p.m. Saturday.
Connor Scruggs plated UTD's first run of the night with a one-out double that hugged the left field line, bringing home Ryan Burciaga from second base. The Comets followed up with an RBI groundout by Rodney Corbin, scoring Barry Casey, and grabbed a 3-0 cushion with an infield RBI single by Luke Richter, scoring Scruggs. UTD completed its first-inning barrage with an RBI single through the right side of the Tornado infield by Thomas Craig, scoring Richter.
The Comets' first-inning runs would be all the offense senior right-hander Jamie Andriot (11-2) would need as he collected his school-record 21st career victory. Andriot went the distance for UTD, collecting seven strikeouts with no walks, scattering 11 hits. He retired the Tornados in order three times en route to his team-leading fourth complete game of the season. The right-hander also set the Comet single-season record for victories, breaking his old mark (10) from his junior campaign.
The Tornados got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the 5th as Daniel Williams launched a solo shot to left to lead off CTX's half of the frame, but UTD answered with a solo homer by Craig to lead off the top of the 6th, his third of the year, to give the Comets a 5-1 advantage.
CTX added two more runs with no outs in the bottom of the 6th with a long ball by Reed Carlton to draw within a pair, 5-3.
Craig would then open the Comets' top of the 8th with his third hit of the game, a single to right, move to second base on a sacrifice bunt Peyton Becker, and scored on a double off the left field wall by Josh Covey with two outs in the frame. The Comets then added three final runs in the 9th, including a bases-loaded walk drawn by Craig.
The Comets are making their sixth-ever appearance in the final round of the ASC Tournament, falling short in the previous five occasions.