Feb. 12, 2013
By Michael Eldridge | UTAMavs.com
ARLINGTON, Texas – Opening Day is just days away and the UT Arlington Mavericks are finishing preparations for Friday’s season and home opener against Louisiana Tech.
UTA is hoping to replace the loss of one of its all-time great outfielders in Preston Beck, who was drafted in the fifth round of the Major League draft by the Texas Rangers. The Mavericks have two returning regulars to the outfield, and will look to newcomers to fill in the void Beck left in right field.
“You are not going to replace guys like Beck,” UT Arlington coach Darin Thomas said. “It may take a couple of guys. I expect to get more out of Pinchback and then whoever else we have starting. It will be exciting to see who will step up.”
Pinchback finished the 2012 season with a .339 on-base percentage and had five multi-hit games. He finished with a .245 batting average with 26 hits and 21 runs.
Miller, who started in 28 games in 2012, finished with a .220 batting average with 22 hits and 26 runs scored. Miller also assisted in putting out 14 runners last season.
In the rotation of returning Mavericks, Brandon Lawrence saw action in 22 games and made 16 starts. Lawrence had a .216 average and a .369 on-base percentage in 2012.
Joining the returners will also be an experienced member of the lineup. A familiar face at designated hitter, Matt Shortall will also be part of the outfield mix. Shortall hit for a .275 average last season, and has the second most at-bats from returning players with 153. Shortall had 42 hits and crossed the plate 23 times. Shortall was second in homeruns last season behind Beck, with six.
UTA welcomes in several newcomers into its outfield rotation, including Justin Copeland and Alec Isaac.
Copeland is a JUCO transfer that was an All-Conference selection in both years of play at Texarkana College. Copeland hit .400 in 2011 and .360 in 2012. He was a Region 14 All-Star in both years.
Isaac was a two-year letterwinner at Hebron High School and a second-team All-District selection in his junior year. He had a .361 average in 2011 and had eight RBI on the way to a .279 average his senior year.