Baseball looks to end homestand with win
April 18, 2011
ARLINGTON, Tex. - UT Arlington looks for its fourth win in five games Tuesday night when it hosts Houston Baptist at 6:30 p.m. at Clay Gould Ballpark.
Here is a closer look at Tuesday's game:
Houston Baptist (7-25) at UT Arlington (20-17)
FIRST PITCH: UT Arlington enters Tuesday night's game against Houston Baptist coming off a big weekend series win over McNeese State. The Mavericks split the first two games and had to break a tie with two runs in the eighth on Sunday to win the rubber match of the set. The series win marked the fourth in six Southland Conference series this season. UTA has now won three of its last four, including a 13-3 blowout win over Mary Hardin-Baylor last Wednesday. The Mavericks would like to continue building momentum to close out their nine-game homestand. They hit the road Thursday when they open a three-game set at Central Arkansas. That series launches an eight-game road trip that includes a return trip to Houston Baptist on April 26. The Huskies come into Tuesday night's games having won their last two games to take the weekend series against Northern Colorado. Houston Baptist is just 7-25 this season, but included in those seven wins are victories over TCU and Dallas Baptist. The Huskies have lost four one-run games to Southland Conference teams, dropping one to Sam Houston State, one to Texas State and a couple to McNeese State. David Pfuntner leads the Huskies with a .317 batting average. Robbie Buller has been the team's power threat, hitting eight home runs and driving in a team-leading 25 runs.
INSIDE THE SERIES: UT Arlington has never beaten Houston Baptist in baseball. The two teams have met just twice with HBU taking both games, which were played in Arlington. The Huskies most recently topped the Mavericks in 2008 when they earned a 12-6 victory. They also beat UTA 10-5 in 1998.
CLEANING UP: UT Arlington 3B Brian Nephew moved to the cleanup spot of the batting order during the first game of the Southeastern Louisiana series. Since then, the senior has gone on a tear. He is batting .433 (13-for-30) over the last eight games with three doubles and five RBI. Nephew is the fourth different cleanup hitter the Mavericks have used this season.
TURNING THE COMER: UT Arlington C Chad Comer entered the Mary Hardin-Baylor game having driven in just one run in his last 18 games. Comer drove in a run against the Crusaders and then went off for seven RBI in three games against McNeese State. The senior has batted .480 (12-for-25) with a double and eight RBI in eight games since dropping from fourth to sixth in the batting order. He enters Tuesday's game on a season-long 10-game hitting streak.
STRANGE STAT: When UT Arlington coach Darin Thomas turns to his bullpen early it is not time to panic. UTA actually has a better record when its starters come out before they complete 5.0 innings (11-8) than when they last longer than 5.0 innings (9-9). That stat is exaggerated even further in Southland Conference games, where the Mavs are 5-1 when starters come out before completing 5.0 innings. They are 5-7 when the starter lasts through 5.0 innings.