Jan. 5, 2008

ARLINGTON, Texas - - With less than two months before first pitch of the 2008 baseball season, the UT Arlington baseball program has received a boost athletically and academically during the past two weeks.

First, the Mavericks are boasting one of their best academic semesters in more than a decade. Thirty players on the 36-player roster finished the fall semester with a grade-point average higher than 3.0, and every player who entered UTA and practiced with the team in the fall is returning this spring.

On the field, UTA has received good news from one of its top hitters in 2006 and 2007.

First baseman/designated hitter David McLeod, who thought his career was over because of rotator cuff surgery, has asked to join the team. Mavericks first-year coach Darin Thomas says the rehabilitation to McLeod's shoulder went better and faster than expected. McLeod will join the team this spring.

Although Thomas says he doesn't know what to expect from McLeod - the senior hasn't played in nearly a year - there is a chance he will contribute right away.

McLeod hit .304 in 2006 and helped the Mavericks in their Southland Conference Tournament championship run. McLeod played in the first half of last season before electing to have surgery.

Also joining the team will be Texas Tech transfer Eric Wright.

Wright, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound freshman, can play outfield or infield. Wright is a three-time SPC All-State Selection at Country Day School who signed with Texas Tech and spent the fall semester in Lubbock. Wright decided last month to return closer to home and join the Mavericks roster.

The addition of Wright and McLeod gives UTA 21 newcomers and 15 returning players.

"We have a lot of competition for spots, and we're definitely going to be a more physical and athletic team," Thomas said.




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