March 5, 2012
UT ARLINGTON (9-3) at WICHITA STATE (6-6) PREVIEWUTA Pitching Probable PitchersTuesday, 6:30 p.m.: Kasey Merck (1-1, 5.40 ERA)Wednesday, 3 p.m.: TBA
Arlington, Texas -- UT Arlington heads to Wichita, Kansas, having won five of its last six games. The Mavericks are off to a 9-3 start, while the Shockers are 6-6. UTA is 2-0 against ranked teams this season, having won 10-3 at No. 16 Oklahoma and 7-5 at No. 12 Texas.
The Mavericks are 4-1 on the road, having also taken two of three games at Louisiana Tech. UTA is back home Friday for a three-game series with Texas State to open Southland Conference play.
UTA won three of four games during a homestand at Clay Gould Ballpark, having beaten Houston Baptist two out of three. The Mavericks also downed Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
TO BE THE BEST YOU HAVE TO PLAY THE BEST...
As has been tradition under head coach Darin Thomas, UTA once again features a tough schedule in which the team will play 10 games against national tournament teams from a year ago. The Mavericks have already beaten No. 12 Texas and No. 16 Oklahoma. UTA also faces NCAA Tournament team Texas A&M on April 10. The slate also includes two games against Dallas Baptist (at DBU on March 20; home on May 1), two against TCU (home on March 27; at TCU on April 11) and three against Texas State (home from March 9-11).
...AND BEAT THE BEST
UTA has already beaten No. 12 Texas and No. 16 Oklahoma this season. In 2011, the Mavericks picked up six wins over nationally ranked teams and have now won 16 games versus top-25 teams during head coach Darin Thomas’ fifth seasons. Last year’s victims included: TCU, Texas State (twice) and Wichita State (twice).
BECK TAKES HOME HITTING HONOR
UT Arlington outfielder Preston Beck has been named the Southland Conference Hitter of the Week, the league office announced Monday. Beck continues to contribute more than one RBI per game this season, racking up another seven in five games last week. The junior reigns as the team’s leading hitter, batting .467 as the Mavericks went 4-1. Beck started the week at No. 16 Oklahoma, where he broke the game open with a three-run homer, propelling the Mavericks to a 10-3 win over the Sooners. Beck had seven hits in his 15 at bats, including two triples.
SHORTALL GOES LONG IN DEBUT
Sophomore designated hitter Matt Shortall was the first Southland Conference Hitter of the Week of the season. Shortall made his UTA debut in the Mavericks’ 2-1 series win at Louisiana Tech after sitting out last season after transferring from Tulane. The sophomore from Dallas, Texas (Dallas Jesuit H.S.), had five hits in six at-bats in Friday’s season-opening 17-10 win against the Bulldogs. Shortall finished two singles, two doubles and a triple, missing the cycle by a home run. He picked up that homer in the second game of the series, an 8-2 win on Sunday, to go along with four RBI, and managed at least one hit in all three games. Shortall was 7 of 14 in the series with a 1.000 slugging percentage.
Fourteen of the 35 players on the roster are either freshmen or sophomores and 27 of the 35 members of the UTA team have fewer than two years of Division I experience under their belts heading into the season.
FOUR WITH 45 OR MORE
WALKER, TEXAS MAVERICK
Ryan Walker was named to the preseason first-team All-Southland Conference team at shortstop. Last year, Walker became the fourth UTA player ever to be named Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team. He led team with 43 runs and 37 RBI, and ranked second in batting average (.322), hits (76), doubles (13), stolen bases (11) and on-base percentage (.387).
PROBABLE STARTING LINEUP BRIEFS
Derek Miller (LF) - True freshman has scored 11 runs and 6 RBI.
Ryan Walker (SS) - Preseason first-team all-conference selection and returning Freshman All-American. Hitting .380 with a team-high 13 runs and 8 RBI.
Preston Beck (RF) - Batting team-high .409 with 3 HR, 22 RBI and 19 hits.
Matt Shortall (DH) - Redshirt sophomore is hitting .324 with 7 RBI.
Michael Guerra (2B) - Batting .319 with 8 runs and 7 RBI.
Jordan Vaughn (1B) - Hitting .261 with 12 hits; one of two 3-year lettermen
Brandon Lawrence (CF) - Has 8 runs; third-team JC All-American in 2011
Greg McCall (C) - Has 8 runs, 6 BB and 10 assists.
Stewart Hill (3B) - True freshman has started 8 games.