April 4, 2013
UT Arlington vs. CSU Bakersfield (Clay Gould Ballpark)
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Friday (6:30 p.m.): UTA - Brad Vachon (3-2, 2.27 ERA) vs. CSUB - Jeff McKenzie (6-1, 1.17 ERA)
Saturday (2 p.m.): UTA - Chase Weaver (2-0, 3.10 ERA) vs. CSBU - Scott Brattvet (5-1, 1.95 ERA)
Sunday (1 p.m.): UTA - Zach Thompson (3-2, 4.86) vs. CSUB - Jonathan Montoya (3-1, 1.73)
ARLINGTON, Texas – After a longer-than-expected break, UT Arlington returns to the diamond Friday for the start of a three-game Western Athletic Conference series against CSU Bakersfield at Clay Gould Ballpark. The Mavericks haven't played since completing a three-game sweep Sunday at Louisiana Tech.
UT Arlington (15-12) is tied for first place in the WAC at 5-1 and is 9-5 at home this season. First pitch Friday is at 6:30 p.m. Saturday's contest is set for 2 p.m., with Sunday's game scheduled for 1 p.m.
The Mavericks are throwing Brad Vachon in the opener. The junior is 3-2 with a 2.27 ERA and is making his seventh start of the season. Chase Weaver (2-0, 3.10 ERA) and Zach Thompson (3-2, 4.86) are expected to go in Games 2 and 3.
CSUB is 19-10 overall and 4-2 in the conference. The Roadrunners counter with Jeff McKenzie, who has proven to be one of the top pitchers in the WAC. The senior lefty is 6-1 with a 1.17 ERA.
"We're facing a very good club that in the preseason was picked high in the league," UT Arlington coach Darin Thomas said. "So far they have the best pitching numbers in the league. McKenzie's numbers are through the roof. As a team, they've barely given up any runs.
"We have our work cut out for us. This is by far the best pitching staff we've faced all year, with the exception of Texas A&M."
The Mavericks outscored Louisiana Tech 21-2 over three games spanning 30 innings. The three starters this weekend gave up a total of two earned runs to the Bulldogs.
"That's about as good as you can pitch on a weekend," Thomas said. "We ended up scoring 21 runs in three games. We played very good team baseball. Everybody in there contributed. We feel good about our pitching going into this weekend."
Sparking the weekend sweep, at least at the plate, were junior catcher Greg McCall and junior designated hitter Matt Shortall. McCall racked up seven RBI at LA Tech, hitting 5-11 (.454) over those three games. Shortall also drove in seven to push his team-leading total to 30, which is tied for second in the WAC. He's hitting .370, good got fifth in the league.
"Shorty is getting big hits," Thomas said. "He gets frustrated in some at-bats, but when you look at the numbers at the end of the day, he had in big double and drove in some runs.
"Greg had one of the best weekends of his career. We're a better a club when we get some production out of the catching spot."
UT Arlington has played seven consecutive road games, compiling a 5-2 record during that stretch. The Mavericks were scheduled play twice this week, but the games against Oklahoma Christian were rained out.
"I don't think it will affect us," Thomas said of extra days off. "It was a long weekend, so maybe that will help. The fact we played so many innings and had so many delays, I look at it as we needed a break."