March 26, 2012
UT Arlington (13-11) vs. TCU (12-9) PreviewProbable Starting PitchersUTA: Zach Thompson, RHP (0-2, 3.95 ERA)TCU: Jerrick Suiter, RHP (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
ARLINGTON, Texas – UT Arlington (13-11) returns home after six straight road games to face Tarrant County neighbor TCU on Tuesday night (6:30 p.m.) at Clay Gould Ballpark. The Mavericks have dropped four in a row since a three-game winning streak was snapped at Lamar. It’s also UTA’s second four-game skid of the season. The game against the Horned Frogs begins a stretch of eight consecutive home games for the Mavericks.
UTA is 7-4 at The Gould this season, with the last victory coming against Baylor on March 13. The Horned Frogs are 12-9 overall and 6-6 on the road, and lead the series against the Mavericks 89-54-1. UTA and TCU are scheduled to meet again this season, this time in Fort Worth on April 11.
LAST TIME OUT: It wasn’t the best of weekends for the Mavericks in Hammond, LA. UTA lost all three games to Southeastern Louisiana despite taking leads into the late innings twice. The sweep was the first of the season for the Mavericks, who dropped to 3-6 in the Southland Conference.
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 includes two games against Dallas Baptist (at DBU on March 20; home on May 1), two vs. TCU (home on March 27; at TCU on April 11) and three vs. Texas State (home from March 9-11).
...AND BEAT THE BEST: UTA has already beaten No. 12 Texas, No. 16 Oklahoma and No. 21 Texas State this season. In 2011, the Mavericks picked up six wins over nationally ranked teams and have now won 17 games versus top-25 teams during head coach Darin Thomas’ five seasons. Last year’s victims included: TCU, Texas State (twice) and Wichita State (twice).
DYNAMIC DUO AMONG THE BEST: RF Preston Beck and RHP Lance Day have been catalysts in UTA’s solid 13-11 start and rank among the nation’s and SLC’s leaders. Beck enters this week leading the conference in RBI (30), is tied for the led in triples (3) and is second in home runs (5). Day (6-1) leads the SLC in victories and innings (46.2).
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 the 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 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 was the SLC Hitter of the Week on March 5. Beck continues to contribute more than one RBI per game this season, racking up seven in five games to win the award. The junior reigns as the team’s leading hitter, batting .467 (at the time of the award) as the Mavericks went 4-1. Beck started that 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.
YOUNG HORSES: Fourteen of the 35 players on the roster are either freshmen or sophomores and 27 of the 35 members have fewer than two years of Division I experience heading into the season.
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
Philip Incaviglia (CF) - Has 8 runs and 12 total bases.
Ryan Walker (SS) - Preseason first-team all-SLC selection and returning Freshman All-American. Hitting .302 with a team-high 24 runs, team-high 29 hits and 11 RBI.
Michael Guerra (2B) - Batting .303 with 14 runs, 27 hits and 14 RBI.
Preston Beck (RF) - Batting team-high .338 with team-high 5 HR, team-high 30 RBI and 27 hits.
Matt Shortall (DH) - Redshirt sophomore is hitting .253 with 15 RBI.
Preston Morrow (LF) - Batting .318 with 3 RBI.
Jordan Vaughn (1B) - Hitting .217 with 18 hits; one of two 3-year lettermen.
Stewart Hill (3B) - Junior transfer has started 17 games.
Greg McCall (C) - Has 9 runs, 11 BB and 15 assists.