March 8, 2012
UT ARLINGTON (9-5) VS. TEXAS STATE (9-3) PREVIEW
At Clay Gould Ballpark, Arlington, TXUTA Probable Starting PitchersFriday, 6:30 pm: Collin Reynolds, RHP (2-0, 2.70 ERA)Saturday, 2 pm: Lance Day, RHP (4-0, 2.81 ERA)Sunday, 1 pm: TBA
Arlington, Texas – UT Arlington opens up Southland Conference action Friday for the start of a three-game series against No. 21 Texas State. The Bobcats were the preseason favorite to win the league and are off to a 9-3 start. The Mavericks are 9-5 on the season. 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 5-2 at Clay Gould Ballpark this season. The series against Texas State dates back to 1988, with the Bobcats leading 52-35.
The Mavericks lost twice at Wichita State earlier this week. UTA held a 4-0 lead on Tuesday before falling 5-4. The Shockers took the series finale 5-1 on Wednesday.
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 with 10 games against tournament teams from last year. The Mavs have already beaten No. 12 Texas and No. 16 Oklahoma. UTA 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).
DYNAMIC DUO AMONG NATION’S BEST
RF Preston Beck and RHP Lance Day have been catalysts in UTA’s strong 9-5 start and rank among the nation’s leaders. Beck entered the week ranked in the NCAA Division 1 top 10 in three different categories: triples (2nd, 3), RBI (3rd, 22) and RBI per game (9th, 1.83). Day was tied for first four victories. He’s 4-0 on the season.
SHORTALL & BECK EARN SLC HITTING HONORS
Sophomore DH 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 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.
Junior OF Preston Beck is the most recent SLC Hitter of the Week. 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.
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 .368 with a team-high 14 runs and 8 RBI.
Preston Beck (RF) - Batting team-high .375 with 3 HR, team-high 22 RBI and 21 hits.
Matt Shortall (DH) - Redshirt sophomore is hitting .316 with 8 RBI.
Michael Guerra (2B) - Batting .315 with 9 runs and 8 RBI.
Jordan Vaughn (1B) - Hitting .245 with 13 hits; one of two 3-year lettermen.
Brandon Lawrence (CF) - Has 8 runs; third-team JC All-American in 2011.
Greg McCall (C) - Has 7 runs, 8 BB and 10 assists.
Stewart Hill (3B) - True freshman has started 9 games.