Jan. 17, 2013
NOTE: This is the last in a four-part series on the 2013 inductees into the UT Arlington Athletics Hall of Honor.
By Michael Eldridge | UTAMavs.com
ARLINGTON, Texas – Less than a year after celebrating UT Arlington’s conquest of the 2012 Southland Conference baseball championship, Mavericks prepare to remember the first two teams to lift the trophy.
The 1990 and 1992 SLC championship teams will be remembered by taking their place in the UT Arlington Athletics Hall of Honor. The 1990 and '92 teams are just the 10th and 11th teams to enter the Hall of Honor and join the 1990, 1992 and 1995 track and field teams as teams to enter from that decade.
1990: The Legacy of the First SLC Champions
The Mavericks entered the 1990 season seeking their first conference championship in baseball since the inception of the conference in 1963. The team had encountered many near misses, with second and third place finishes during the 1980s.
The year did not start out how UTA hoped it would. The Mavericks dropped their first four games of the season, and lost 11 out of 16 to begin the year. The struggle continued into the opening of conference play when the Mavericks lost two of three.
On March 31, 1990, things began to turn around. The Mavericks would win the final two games of their series against Northwestern Louisiana and would reel off a 10-game winning streak, including a sweep of SLC rival Stephen F. Austin. UTA clinched the league title on April 29 in a two-game must-win series against Sam Houston State. UTA defeated Sam Houston 1-0 in the opening game and pulled away to win the second 7-1 to lift the trophy.
For the first time in program history, UTA entered the NCAA tournament and participated in the Texas Regional. The Mavs lost a heartbreaker in the first round of the tournament, falling to Texas 9-8 after giving up two runs in the bottom of the ninth. UTA was eliminated from its first postseason appearance the following day by Clemson 8-5.
The Mavericks finished 31-30 on the season and 11-5 in the SLC. UTA had three players selected to the first-team All-SLC and two to the second-team.
1990 Team Accolades
- SLC First-Team: Lawrence Hanlon (SS), Lee Jones (SP) and Tony Vilaros (OF).
- SLC Second-Team: Joe Guidry (OF) and John Marek (DH)
- SLC Coach of the Year: Butch McBroom
- NCAA South Central Region Coach of the Year: McBroom
- Nine players played professionally
1992: A Team on a Mission
If 1990 was a team of destiny, the 1992 team was a team on a mission. The season started off with a bang against Texas Christian University in the home opener. The opener proved to be a sign of things to come.
Breaking the UTA attendance record for the largest home crowd ever at the Arlington Athletic Center, the Mavericks defeated TCU 4-3 and propelled itself into a dream start. After opening up 3-2, UTA won 12 consecutive games with featured wins against Oklahoma State, Baylor and TCU again.
The Mavericks would get hot again during the stretch run of the season. Coming off a tough set of games against UT Austin and Texas A&M in which UTA went 1-3, UTA would win 14-straight to break the record for wins a row in program history. The streak contained three SLC sweeps and two wins against TCU, sweeping the Frogs that season.
UTA would win the SLC by two games over Nicholls State by posting a 16-5 record in conference play. The season, however, would end similarly to 1990. UTA entered its second ever postseason appearance back in Austin in the Texas Regional. The Mavs lost its opening round game 11-6 to Creighton and then were knocked out by Texas the end the 1992 season.
The team's 40 wins and .727 winning percentage is still the best in school-history. The 1992 team was 15-2 in one-run games and 26-3 in home games, both remain school bests. The 15-1 record during the month of April is still the best in any month for the Mavericks.
1992 Team Accolades
- SLC First-Team: Chris Gay (SP), Tim Krejci (2B), Jeff Stephens (3B), Charlie Llewellyn (OF) and Karl Heckendorn (OF)
- SLC Second-Team: Dough Durrwachter (SS)
- SLC Pitcher of the Year: Chris Gay
- SLC Newcomer of the Year: Karl Heckendorn
- SLC Coach of the Year: Butch McBroom
- Seven players played professionally
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